Remember a few years ago when “The Fault In Our Stars” came out and we all ugly cried for two hours in public? Me too. If there’s anything sadder than two young adults with terminal illnesses falling in love, only to be ripped apart decades too soon by death and disease, I honestly don’t want to know about it. While for many of us, these stories only exist in books and movies, it’s one young couple’s actual real life.
Meet 25-year-olds Dalton and Katie Prager. Just like in the John Green story, Dalton and Katie met in a support group for cystic fibrosis. They met online and fell in love, but Dalton was also suffering from Burkholderia cepacia, a dangerous bacterial infection that’s contagious to others with cystic fibrosis. Katie’s doctors warned them not to meet, as Dalton could easily spread his infection to Katie, but Katie didn’t listen. The two fell in love IRL. Of course, Katie contracted Burkholderia cepacia, but for her, it was worth it for the two of them to be together. Dalton and Katie got married in 2011 and have since been battling cystic fibrosis together.
If you’re not already crying, just wait, because it gets worse. Katie and Dalton both needed transplants and waited with each other through the process. Dalton received his transplant in 2014, while Katie received hers last year. For Dalton, everything seemed fine. For Katie, however, things got bad quickly. Her body didn’t accept the transplant and she was placed in intensive care as doctors tried to make her as comfortable as possible. Just like in “The Fault In Our Stars” though, there is a brutal twist. Dalton, who seemed fine after his transplant, developed pneumonia and a viral infection and just passed away. Katie remained in intensive care, but got to FaceTime her love as he took his last breath.
Okay, now I’m seriously weeping. While we know Katie is mourning, she was hopeful during their short time together. As she recently told CNN in an interview,
I told Dalton I’d rather be happy — like really, really happy — for five years of my life and die sooner than be mediocre happy and live for 20 years.” That was definitely something I had to think about, but when you have those feelings, you just know. He was one of the greatest people I’d ever met and not many people like Dalton come around so you got to get him while you can.
If Katie and Dalton touched your heart and you want to use your parents’ credit card for something other than your next Kate Spade purchase, you can donate via their GoFundMe. While the original goal of the GoFundMe to reunite the couple never happened before Dalton passed away, the proceeds will now go to Dalton’s funeral fund to help out his family..
Image via YouTube