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Kaitlyn’s own Statement
At age 13 I was diagnosed with cancer, I spent 7 weeks in the hospital. Being in hospital opened my eyes to the amount of children fighting cancer without family. I wanted to do all I could to make it better for the other children which gave me the idea to start this charity.
**Kaitlyn initial stay in hospital was 7 weeks. The hospital admissions also consisted of the following: 4 ICU, 2 ambulance trips to Winnipeg, 4 Emergency admissions, plus numerous clinic visits to Children’s Cancer Clinic appointments, as well as year long chemo treatments in hospital.
I Am My Own Person
I am my own person. I don’t want to be, nor will I be someone I’m not. I know a lot of people like to be the same by keeping up with different trends and such, but I honestly don’t see the point. Sure you might be “cool” but you’re probably missing all the simple and beautiful things in life. Of course sometimes I’ll be into popular things, but it’ll be because I genuinely like it or think it’s cool, not because someone else says so. To me, being my own person means not getting caught up in everyone else’s lives; it means being free with myself. I’m perfectly free to be open-minded and full of life, because that’s who I am, that’s who I love being. So don’t tell me to be somebody else, because nobody can tell me who to be. I’m going to be the person that I feel comfortable with, the person who isn’t afraid to be different. I’m going to embrace my Katieness.
Written by Kaitlyn Reimer, February 2012.
Kaitlyn’s Story as told by her parents
Kaitlyn was a happy healthy child. Who loved life. She enjoyed school she attended Winkler Elementary School. She was active at her school being a lunch monitor, patrol, she joined a group to sew blankets for the Pregnancy Crisis Center, also loved going to girls club. She loved being involved with school sports, she participated on the soccer, badminton and volleyball teams. She also enjoyed choir, and excelled at school. She made many friends where ever she went.
One of her most favorite sports was swimming. She swam on the Winkler Barracudas swim team, she started swimming on the team when she was 6 years old. This gave her immense joy as she looked forward to this activity each year. The summer of 2011 she swam even though she was going through chemo treatments. Her sheer strength and determination showed as she swam.
She loved music she played the piano. Music could always be heard from her computer.
Sept 2011 Kate was excited as she was finally entering high school. She entered grade 9 at GVC. Here she quickly made many friends and joined the Amnesty Group. She was involved with choir and was in the library picking up new books to read.
A big part of Kate’s life was her youth group at Emmanuel Mennonite Church. Her faith was a huge part of her life and lived that daily as she faced all her challenges with the knowledge that God was in control.
Kate’s genuine love for reading was expressed. Her desire was to have more books available to children at the hospital. Through Katie Cares these wishes will be realized. We want to share with you how Kate was and for you to understand that Kate was young, strong and healthy. This cancer came out of nowhere and changed our lives forever.
As parents when you hear the words your daughter/son has a life threatening disease something inside of you dies.
When Kate was diagnosed with cancer in October 2010 we thought there is no way to get thru this. But with prayer and personal support of many family and friends we have survived and we keep going putting one foot in front of the other.
Kate noticed the support and felt it and said that we should do the same for others. Helping others has become our passion since then. A story that will reflect Kate’s passion is as follows: Kate’s passion for helping was noticed when she was in ICU at children’s hospital. A child had been brought in and was in the next room. This child had been badly beaten. This opened Kate’s eyes because she had never seen or experienced this type of life. She quickly realized that no one was visiting this young child. Kate asked her mom to go down to the gift shop and purchase a teddy bear and give it to this child. Kate said “every child deserves to have a teddy bear to hug when they are in hospital”. With the permission of the nursing staff this young child was given a teddy bear and this was the start of Katie Cares.
Kate became busy working on her charity, telling her family her wishes. She worked on a logo, her slogan SEE IT, BELIEVE IT, ACHIEVE It. She wrote her mandate for her charity. She also worked together with the Winkler Community Foundation to have things set up for donations for tax receipt donations. We are happy that Kate was aware and part of the process of setting up her charity.
The charity’s mandate was set by Kate as the following: To help sick kids get past being sick by providing the things needed to pass long days of treatments or being bored at hospital visits. One item that Kate wanted was a bag of items to be given at Boundary Trails Hospital. This bag consists of a toothbrush, toothpaste, comb, brush, floss, lip balm, shampoo, body wash, deodorant, crossword puzzle books, word search, books, crayons, coloring book, markers and of course a teddy bear. These bags will be age appropriate and Kate designed what should be in each bag.
Unfortunately Kate’s battle with cancer did not end as we had hoped. Kate passed away on May 20th 2012. The charity lives on and we will carry on what she started and make the dreams and wishes come true.
-Randy, Ruth and John Reimer