Official Athletic Site of the Valparaiso University Crusaders
Accepting the Challenge: Boone Visits Haiti a Year After Devastating Earthquake
Katie Boone (left) helped out in Haiti earlier in 2011.
Katie Boone (left) helped out in Haiti earlier in 2011.

Monday, June 06, 2011
by Tom Wyatt

Katie Boone (2005) simply invited herself. She didn’t even wait to be asked.

When a physician on her surgical team at St. Francis Medical Group in Indianapolis mentioned in passing that he was planning to travel to Haiti on a disaster-relief service trip, Boone’s interest was immediately piqued.

“I had been wanting to go on some kind of trip,” Boone says. “When he said he was going, I said, ‘Are you kidding me? Can I go, too?’ I just jumped in and said I was going.”

This is the same Katie Boone who, as a sophomore at Valpo in 2003, hit a pair of free throws with 7.5 seconds left in the Mid-Continent Conference championship game to give the Crusaders women’s basketball team a berth in the NCAA Tournament. In other words, Boone is not afraid of a challenge.

And traveling to Haiti, where the people there were still reeling from the effects of the horrific earthquake a year later, was going to be a challenge. But Boone welcomed it.

So she went. A physician assistant at St. Francis Medical Group, Boone joined Dr. Don King and others through Lifeline Christian Mission in Columbus, Ohio, for a 10-day journey from Jan. 27 to Feb. 5 earlier this year to help those in need.

Boone’s group set up a clinic in Grand Goave, a town about 35 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince. About 90 percent of the buildings in Grand Goave were destroyed by the 7.0 magnitude earthquake on Jan. 12, 2010.

“I have to say, it was shocking, obviously,” Boone says. “I hadn’t been exposed to anything even close to that. Right outside the area we were located, there were still tent cities. There are still homes that, even if they weren’t completely devastated, a lot of families won’t move back in because they’re afraid they’ll still crumble or fall.

“I don’t think anything can get you prepared for it. It’s just an indescribable experience.”

The term clinic, however, is a loose description for the rudimentary medical facility the relief workers were able to set up. Boone says it was more like a room with a table in the middle of it and a few medical supplies.

“We didn’t even have anesthesiologist equipment,” Boone says. “We had an ER doctor performing anesthesia with some old oxygen tanks. We were using a defibrillator box to keep our vitals. This was not your regular stuff.”

The workers treated several patients’ abscesses and infections and successfully repaired 12 hernias, which Boone was proud of because they were able to create a critically important sterile environment for such procedures. They also amputated the toe of an 18-month-old baby, who Boone says may have died if the surgery didn’t take place when it did.

“The Haitians were wonderful, sweet, and grateful for us to be there,” Boone says. “We didn’t take appointments at the clinic and basically just handed out tickets. So they came and waited outside the whole week, and we didn’t hear one complaint. They’re just grateful for what we could do for them.”

While having an outstanding basketball career at Valpo, where she ranks among the all-time leaders in several categories, Boone also excelled in the classroom. A chemistry major, she made the Mid-Continent Conference All-Academic Team three times.

“Valpo was great for basketball and great for my schooling,” Boone says “I had to learn a lot about time management and prioritizing.”

At Valpo, she knew she wanted to go into the medical field. And after having surgery herself, she realized she wanted to be a physician assistant, which is a health care professional who is licensed to practice medicine with physician supervision.

After graduating from Valpo, she earned a Master of Physician Assistant Studies degree from Butler University.

“I’ve always liked helping people and being able to help them,” Boone says. “I like the way it makes me feel. My brother is four years older than me and has had diabetes since he was 2. Growing up around him, he was dealing with this chronic disease, and I think that kind of made an impression on me as early as I can remember.”

At St. Francis Medical Group, Boone works with a group of general surgeons.

“I love it; I really do,” Boone says. “I love being in surgery. I love the actual physical technique it takes, and I love the fact that when somebody comes in with a problem, we can usually fix it.”

Story by Tom Wyatt ('94) for VALPO Magazine.

M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 5th/17 (20)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 11 9th/18 (12)
M Tennis Valpo 5 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 11 Detroit 2
Baseball Youngstown State 7 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 11 Valpo 10
M Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (48)
W Track Chicagoland Championships Romeoville, Ill.
Apr 12 6th/20 (60.50)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 12 3rd/6 (335); 4th/6 (350)
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 12 t-7th/13 (588)
M Soccer St. Joseph's College Eastgate Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Baseball Youngstown State 1 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 13
Softball Cleveland State 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 10:00 a.m. Valpo 2
Volleyball Western Michigan/Butler/Eastern Michigan ARC
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo
Softball Cleveland State 4 VU Softball Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 6
Baseball Youngstown State 12 Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Valpo 4
W Tennis Valpo 1 Detroit, Mich.
Apr 12, 1:45 p.m. Detroit 6
M Soccer Benedictine Brown Field
Apr 12, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Soccer Haitian National Team Brown Field
Apr 12, 7:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Bluegrass Invitational Lexington, Ky. (University Club Big Blue Course)
Apr 13 t-6th/13 (895)
W Golf Crusader/Jaguar Challenge Valparaiso, Ind. (The Course at Aberdeen)
Apr 13 2nd/6 (657); 5th/6 (692)
Softball Cleveland State 6 8 inn.
Apr 13 Valpo 7
W Tennis Valpo 1 Rochester, Mich.
Apr 13 Oakland 6
M Tennis Valpo 1 Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 13 #12 Notre Dame 6
W Tennis Valpo 0 Chicago, Ill.
Apr 14 Chicago State 7
M Tennis Valpo 7 Homewood, Ill.
Apr 15 Chicago State 0
Baseball Valpo CCD
Apr 15 Toledo
M Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
W Track Cougar Invitational River Forest, Ill.
Apr 17 No Team Score
Baseball Valpo 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 17 Milwaukee 0
M Tennis Youngstown State 1 Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18 Valpo 6
Baseball Valpo 0 Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 18 Milwaukee 3
Softball Oakland 3 VU Softball Field
Apr 18 Valpo 11
W Tennis Youngstown State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 18, 4:00 p.m. Valpo
W Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 19
M Track DePaul Invitational Chicago, Ill.
Apr 19
W Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 10:00 a.m. Valpo
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Valpo Milwaukee, Wis.
Apr 19, 1:00 p.m. Milwaukee
Softball Oakland VU Softball Field
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Cleveland State Valpo Tennis Complex
Apr 19, 2:00 p.m. Valpo
M Golf Wolfpack Spring Open Raleigh, N.C. (Lonnie Poole Golf Course)
Apr 20
Baseball Kalamazoo Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 21, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Ohio Northern Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 3:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Macomb, Ill.
Apr 22, 5:00 p.m. Western Illinois
Softball Valpo Notre Dame, Ind.
Apr 24, 5:00 p.m. Notre Dame
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 25 Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 25
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 25
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 25, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 26, 3:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Track Miami (Ohio) Invitational Oxford, Ohio
Apr 26
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 26
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 26, 2:00 p.m. Wright State
M Tennis Valpo Ann Arbor, Mich.
Apr 27, 2:00 p.m. Horizon League Tournament
M Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
W Golf Horizon League Championship Howey in the Hills, Fla. (Mission Inn Resort & Club)
Apr 27
Softball Valpo Dayton, Ohio
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Wright State
Baseball UIC Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 27, 12:00 p.m. Valpo
Baseball Western Michigan Emory G. Bauer Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 3:00 p.m. Valpo
Softball IUPUI VU Softball Field
Apr 29, 5:00 p.m. Valpo