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Image: Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders
Brent Smith  /  Reuters
Colts cheerleaders Megan (left) and Crystal Ann (right) walk with mascot Blue after they had their heads shaved in support of head coach Chuck Pagano.
By
TODAY staff and wire
updated 11/26/2012 2:44:48 PM ET 2012-11-26T19:44:48

Bald was beautiful on Sunday when a pair of Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders had their heads shaved to support leukemia research and Colts head coach Chuck Pagano.

Image: ndianapolis Colts cheerleader Crystal Ann stands with the rest of the squad after having her head shaved in support of head coach Chuck Pagano
Joe Robbins  /  Getty Images
Crystal Ann stands with the rest of the squad.

Pagano, who lost his hair from chemotherapy treatments after being diagnosed with leukemia in September, is in remission but still undergoing treatments.

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The two cheerleaders, Megan and Crystal Ann (the team doesn't release the last names of the cheerleaders for security and privacy reasons), lost their locks on the sidelines after the third quarter of Sunday’s game. The Colts’ mascot, a horse named Blue, had tweeted out a challenge, asking if a cheerleader would shave her locks if he raised $10,000 for leukemia research. The two cheerleaders took the pledge and had their long brown hair sheared off while holding hands. $22,670.50 was raised through online donations.

Blue shaves the head of cheerleader Megan.
Joe Robbins  /  Getty Images
The Colts' mascot, Blue, shaves the head of cheerleader Megan.
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"I've just had personal experiences with people who have had cancer," Megan told WISH-TV in Indianapolis. "I've had mentors and family members and volunteer at Riley and met little girls who have lost their hair and beat cancer multiple times. Just seeing struggles they went through and how they could overcome that and still have confidence and fight this fight without their hair — they are really my inspiration for doing this."

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Pagano was in attendance at the game on Sunday and received a standing ovation from the crowd when he appeared on the video screen. He mouthed the words “thank you’’ to the crowd. Many of the Colts’ players shaved their heads earlier this month in solidarity.

The Colts, now 7-4, remain in the playoff hunt with the goal of keeping their season going long enough for Pagano to return as coach after his treatments are done.

© 2013 MSNBC Interactive

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