Skip to navigation

What we're up to

News Wednesday, February 08, 2017

Katharine Koonce spotlight

Katharine is a young girl with a heart as big as Texas. She has endured more pain and intense medical procedures in her short life than most adults will in their entire lifetime. Yet, through it all, she still wears a smile and projects a positive attitude.

As a burn survivor, Katharine’s journey began at the age of 4 in Houston, Texas, when she sustained second- and third-degree thermal burns to over 70 percent of her body during an accident caused by Hurricane Ike in 2008. Katharine was airlifted to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California and was later transferred to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston for outpatient care and rehabilitation.

“We have made great strides in her recovery,” said Katharine’s mother, Denise. “If it hadn’t been for the care we received at Shriners Hospitals for Children, I don’t think Katharine would be the outgoing, positive young lady she is today,” Denise continued.

Katharine, at times, appears to be a people magnet. There have been numerous occasions when out in public that Katharine is approached with questions from children and adults alike about her burn injuries. Katharine has taken this opportunity to share her story of care in Galveston. During the 2015 Imperial Session of Shriners International (annual business meeting), Katharine was introduced as the 2015–2016 National Patient Ambassador for all 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children locations and represented the hospital system at multiple events, including the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open PGA TOUR® FedExCup® event, the East-West Shrine Game and the 2016 Rose Parade® in Pasadena, California.

“We cannot thank Shriners Hospitals for Children — Galveston enough for the role they played in Katharine’s life,” Denise said. “We will always be grateful for the support of this loving organization.”