Fairbanks Circle of Hope Dinner celebrates record fundraising for patient assistance

April 24th, 2019

Fairbanks set another fundraising record for its annual Circle of Hope Dinner. The 2019 event raised almost $315,000 for patients who are uninsured or under-insured. The 18th annual event was conducted at The Westin Indianapolis for the first time, on April 18. Just over 550 were in attendance.

Jim Irsay and the Indianapolis Colts were once again the presenting sponsor for the Fairbanks Circle of Hope Dinner. Irsay also allowed a rare public display of the original working manuscript of Alcoholics Anonymous, which he purchased at an auction in 2018 for $2.4 million. The AA book, published in 1939, has sold over 30 million copies, been translated into 67 languages, and been named by the Library of Congress as one of the top 25 “Books That Shaped America.”

AA original manuscript at 2019 Circle of Hope

This year’s keynote speaker was Austin Eubanks. An injured survivor of the Columbine High School shooting, Eubanks is now a nationally-recognized speaker and expert on addiction treatment and behavioral health. He experienced trauma and subsequent addiction from that tragic event, which marked its 20th anniversary two days after this year’s Circle of Hope Dinner.

Austin Eubanks at 2019 Circle of Hope

The event also raises awareness about alcohol and drug addiction while honoring an individual or organization for outstanding contributions related to research, education, or treatment of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb was honored as the 2019 Richard M. Fairbanks Circle of Hope Award recipient. Among his achievements so far in addressing the state’s opioid and addiction crises are:

  • Creating a new position in state government dedicated to reversing the trend of opioid overdose deaths
  • Developing and launching the Next Level Recovery website to provide a convenient, user-friendly source of information on prevention, treatment, and enforcement
  • Increasing the availability of treatment, including establishing new opioid treatment programs within an hour’s drive of most Hoosiers
  • Improving law enforcement plus signing a law charging drug dealers with the highest felony when actions lead to death of fellow Hoosiers
  • Reducing the excess supply of prescription opioids through integration of INSPECT, Indiana’s prescription drug monitoring program
  • Instituting harm reduction programs
  • Implementing public information campaigns such as “Know the O Facts” to educate, inform, and reduce stigma

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb at Circle of Hope

The Circle of Hope Dinner also featured two “voices of recovery,” individuals who struggled with substance-use disorders and are now living in long-term recovery with help from Fairbanks.

Barb Elliott, president and CEO of Fairbanks, told the audience how the organization has been able to provide more than $10 million in patient assistance over the past five years thanks to the generosity of donors.

Joe Staysniak, a former Colts player who co-hosts The Jeff & Big Joe Show on 1070 The Fan, served as emcee. Noted guests included: State Sen. Jim Merritt; former State Sen. Patricia Miller; Hamilton Superior Court Judge Gail Bardach; Marion County Superior Court Judge Dianna Burleson; Indiana Drug Czar Jim McClelland; Karen Glaser, deputy chief of staff and district director for Congresswoman Susan Brooks; Marion County Public Health Department Director Dr. Virginia Caine; and Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box.