The real life Fault in Our Stars couple Katlin Prager and Dalton Prager are hoping for a miracle.
Both Katlin, who also goes by Katie, and Dalton have cystic fibrosis, a life-threatening condition that attacks the person’s lungs and digestive system.
According to the Mayo Clinic, “cystic fibrosis affects the cells that produce mucus, sweat and digestive juices. These secreted fluids are normally thin and slippery. But in cystic fibrosis, a defective gene causes the secretions to become thick and sticky. Instead of acting as a lubricant, the secretions plug up tubes, ducts and passageways, especially in the lungs and pancreas.”
Katlin was diagnosed with the disease when she was only 2-weeks-old, and since 2009, she has spent the majority of her time in and out of the hospital fighting for her life.
Katie has Kentucky Medicaid insurance, which has denied her out-of-state treatments, including a lung transplant, she needs from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Now, her family and friends are looking to the public for help.
“If you ever need a friend to talk to, you can reach out to me,” she wrote.
“Sorry, but do I know you?” he responded.
The couple continued talking and getting to know each other. Before long, they realized that they were falling in love with each other. The complicated part was that meeting each other could be deadly for either of them.
People with cystic fibrosis are not supposed to be around each other because they can share infections that can cause further harm to their already weak lungs. Dalton had also confided in Katlin that he had a very serious infection for people with CF called Burkholderia cepacia.
“I was like, ‘Hi, I’m Dalton from Missouri and I have Burkholderia cepacia,’ because it’s such a big deal in the CF community,” he recalled. “I left the decision about whether we should meet up completely up to her.”
Despite the risk she was taking to her health, Katlin visited Dalton in the hospital. Two years later, they became husband and wife.
“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 twenty years,” she said. “That was definitely something I had to think about, but when you have those feelings, you just know.”
It wasn’t long after they met that their health started deteriorating quickly. The couple entered the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center to await new lungs in August of 2014. Dalton, who has private insurance, was lucky enough to receive his transplant in November, but Katlin is still awaiting hers.
“I was so thrilled. I was so happy for him,” Katie said.
Dalton’s new lungs weakened his immune system, therefore he is not able to be near his wife because any infection she is carrying could kill him, according to CBS Pittsburgh.
“It would be just a miracle to me if I could just hug him,” she said. “Like that’s all I want. I haven’t had a hug in so long.”
For now, Katie and Dalton are anxiously awaiting a miracle.
“She’s only 24-years-old and she would like to go back to school and get her bachelor’s degree, and she would like to learn how to hip-hop dance,” Katlin’s mother, Debra Donovan, said. “She just has a lot of hopes and dreams and she just wants to be like her friends, like other 24-year-olds, and go out and maybe party a little and just do what all the kids do.”
Dalton set up a fundraiser for his wife on Youcaring.com. So far, they have raised $31,500 of their $50,000 goal.
To read more about Katie’s and Dalton’s love story and journey with cystic fibrosis, click here.
[Photo via Youcaring.com]