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Colts cheerleaders shave heads for leukemia research

INDIANAPOLIS -- Two Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders, Megan and Crystal Ann, had their heads shaved by the team mascot after the third quarter of Sunday's game at Lucas Oil Stadium as part of a challenge to raise money for leukemia research.

The two pledged to have their heads shaved if they raised $10,000. They reached $22,670.50.

The Colts' mascot, Blue, challenged all of the team's cheerleaders via Twitter to do it, and Megan and Crystal Ann accepted. Both were brunettes with hair that draped past their shoulders, but they couldn't stop smiling Sunday as those locks dropped to the field. The money was raised through online donations and still is being accepted.

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Colts cheerleaders shave heads in support of head coach Chuck Pagano.

Megan's father was in the stands and held a sign over the rails that read: "Megan... Bald is beautiful. You are Chuckstrong ... Love Dad"

Several Colts players, including quarterback Andrew Luck, and those who work for the organization already shaved their heads in support of first-year coach Chuck Pagano, who was diagnosed with leukemia in Week 4 and has undergone aggressive chemotherapy.

Pagano attended the game and stepped out of a suite with Colts owner Jim Irsay in the fourth quarter. Pagano received a standing ovation from the announced crowd of 64,366 as he was shown on the video screen. He patted himself on the chest and mouthed the words "thank you" several times.

"That's huge," Colts wide receiver Reggie Wayne said of Pagano being in attendance for his team's 20-13 victory over the Buffalo Bills. "We knew he was here before the game. Our motto was, when it's all said and done when this game's done, make sure he's smiling.

"We went out there with that approach. ... Hopefully he's on his way smiling."

The entire Indianapolis community seemingly has joined the cause. The Colts have raised more than $250,000, and several local businesses also have collected and donated funds.

Follow Kareem Copeland on Twitter @kareemcopeland.

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