Planting the Seeds of Recovery: Donor and Recovery Coach Discuss Battle Against Addiction

Patient Story

“All you can do is plant a seed. If it blooms, fantastic. But you have to meet people where they are.” If Kelsey Phillips sounds exceptionally wise in the way she views addiction, it’s because she’s lived and learned. Now, an Indiana University Health recovery coach—her “dream job”—Kelsey has found success and fulfillment after overcoming her own personal darkness.

Kelsey knows about addiction, because she is a recovering addict herself. She’s candid about her struggles, admitting that she destroyed her life, and the lives of her parents, to feed her disease. The last treatment program Kelsey landed in is the one in which she’s now employed. (“It was the last because it was the one that worked,” she says.) As a peer recovery coach, Kelsey conducts one-on-one consultations with patients struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse.

Recently, Kelsey sat down with Jaimee Haan, Physical Therapy Wound Management program manager at IU Health. Jaimee occasionally comes into contact with patients dealing with addiction, but her own experience cuts much deeper. Jaimee’s brother spent years fighting his addiction. With a young daughter to support, he sought help to get clean. Tragically, his life was taken a short time later by a car crash, unrelated to his substance abuse. Jaimee struggled to come to terms with her brother’s passing, but she found a certain measure of healing in donating to IU Health Foundation, in support of behavioral health and the recovery coach program.

The two women shared their stories and found a connection even in the midst of their troubled histories. Jaimee gives to IU Health Foundation through its employee giving program, which is part of what has made it possible for Kelsey to do what she does.

The impact of philanthropy is apparent in the story of these women, brought together by the shared experience with addiction. It is audible in their shared tears and laughter. And it is meaningful in the ways it has changed both of their lives.

If you’d like more information about this content or ways to give, contact IU Health Foundation at or 317.962.1777. You will find us online at

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