Creating a haven for people amidst the storm of a difficult health journey was the dream of Katelyn Reimer.

Her vision for the respite home Katie's Cottage has been open for six months and the number of guests has increased.

"I think Katelyn would be thrilled," Katie Cares' Ruth Reimer says.

The respite home across the street from Boundary Trails Health Centre averages four guests a night, and have reached max capacity more than a dozen times.

"It's so hard to say "I'm sorry tonight you can't stay here," " Reimer says, adding they encourage people to book early.

Guests have also come from as far as The Pas, as far West as Estevan and as far East as Kenora.

"We have a wide range of people that are coming," she says, adding many guests note the cottage doesn't feel like a health institution.

"Our guest book is evident of that," she says. "Katie's Cottage is providing a home away from home. That's truly what it is."

More than 40 volunteers also donate their time to the cottage, hosting and baking.

However, the respite home isn't just for overnight guests. Anyone is invited to stop by the cottage for coffee or a snack during the day.

"Even if we're full, anyone can come across the street," Reimer says, and read or rest.

CIBC recently donated to Katie Cares. As part of volunteering with the Winkler Harvest Festival last year, CIBC staff were given $500 to donate to the charity of their choice.

Winkler Branch Manager Ryan Gitzel says it was an easy decision.

"It's phenomenal how far they've come over the past few years," he says. "And we're honoured... to help in any way we can."

Gitzel says the cottage creates a feeling of coming home.

Debbie Loewen, Senior Financial Service Representative at CIBC says Ruth and Randy Reimer have done a fantastic job on the cottage design.

"When you're going through a hard time you're able to sit back and relax," she says.

Ruth says every donation, no matter the size, is appreciated.

"It feels really good when we get donations," Reimer says. "It mushrooms into something great."

katie cares cibcRyan Gitzel Manager at CIBC in Winkler with Katie Cares' Ruth Reimer and Debbie Loewen, Senior Financial Service Representative

katie cares kitchenAnyone at Boundary Trails Health Centre is encouraged to walk over for a snack and relax during the day

katie cares windowA donated piece of artwork reflecting the prairie sky and daisy spreading seeds into the wind was donated by Metamorphosis Glass Works

cottage exteriorThe building was moved to the location between Morden and Winkler last spring, before opening in August

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