The 22nd annual VIMCare clinic Reverse Raffle netted a third-best-ever total of $173,000 at The Commons with a near-sellout crowd of about 450 people, according to organizers.

The top total of $189,000 was set in 2015, according to the Columbus Regional Health Foundation staff, which plans the gathering.

The event supports the clinic’s patients in the state’s HIP 2.0 program, a Medicaid program, or other local residents who are uninsured.

Friday’s fundraiser, “HIPnotic,” featured hypnotist TG Rivers, known for entertaining audiences by hypnotizing volunteers from the crowd and sometimes entire audiences themselves. Rivers hypnotized several willing subjects, including some who, under Rivers’ command, sang their name operatic style and also pretended to play imaginary instruments.

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This unfolded after Columbus resident Michael Lucas, who was not present, won the $10,000 raffle.

Rebekah Walsh, the foundation’s senior development officer and VIMCare’s new director of volunteer services, said organizers and volunteers had only 52 raffle tickets left to sell by Friday evening — the lowest number available at the start of such events in their history.

They sold out quickly.

“There were a lot of people who worked really hard to get the word out,” Walsh said.

The money raised came from corporate, business and private sponsorships, general event tickets and raffle tickets, she said.

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Brian Blair is a reporter for The Republic. He can be reached at or 812-379-5672.