The husband in a real-life ‘Fault in Our Stars’ couple has sadly passed away on Saturday at the age of 25. Dalton Prager died on Saturday afternoon at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, as his wife, Katie Prager, spoke to him on the phone from her home in Kentucky, where she remains in hospice care. Both Dalton and Katie have had a long and hard struggle with cystic fibrosis, and the disease, which ultimately took Dalton’s life, also prevented his wife from being close to him at the time of his passing.
Katie Prager was in hospice in Flemingsburg, Kentucky, at the time of her husband’s passing. Katie’s mother, Debra Donovan, told CNN that the couple FaceTimed although she wasn’t too sure that Dalton could hear her.
“She told him that she loved him. We don’t know if he heard her.”
Katie and Dalton met online when they were both 18. They started communicating via Facebook and soon fell in love with each other. The couple were aware that meeting in person wouldn’t be wise due to Dalton’s condition. Dalton had a highly contagious infection associated with people with cystic fibrosis, called Burkholderia cepacia. Despite her doctor’s warning against meeting other patients with cystic fibrosis over fear of contracting the deadly bacteria, Katie wasn’t hesitant on meeting Dalton. She ultimately set a meeting with Dalton in Kentucky, and she had explained earlier why she chose to do it.
“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.”
The couple got married two years later, in 2011, when they were both 20. Like her doctors had predicted, Katie did eventually contract Burkholderia cepacia from her husband. The couple had to wait for a few years to get transplants at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dalton got his transplant in November 2014, which was a success. Katie had to wait longer and finally after a long fight with her hospital, Medicare, and Medicaid, she got her transplant in July 2015.
But sadly, that wasn’t it for the couple. Their medical struggles had just started. Although the transplant, at first, had seemed successful, Dalton eventually contracted lymphoma. He overcame the cancer but had to be hospitalized recently for pneumonia and a viral infection. Katie’s transplant had never been a complete success. As a result, she constantly had complications and had to be in and out of the hospital. It was revealed earlier this month by her doctors that there was nothing more they could do for her.
Dalton had been in the intensive care unit of the Barnes-Jewish Hospital for the past two weeks. He was kept on a ventilator. The last time Katie and Dalton had met was in their fifth wedding anniversary in July. The family had planned to move Dalton from the hospital in St. Louis to a hospital in Kentucky to recover, so that they could drive him to their home where Katie was in hospice. But ultimately, Dalton was too weak to be transferred, and the couple were never able to share their final kiss. Following Dalton’s passing on Saturday, both Katie and his Mom posted emotional messages on the couple’s Facebook page. Katie wrote the following.
“My angel, my best friend, the love of my life, my husband went to be with the Lord our God today. Dalton fought a long hard battle with Cystic Fibrosis. He was a courageous fighter and ‘give up’ wasn’t in his vocabulary. Thank you for all of your love, prayers and kind words that you have shown to us over the past few years. God bless each of you.”
Dalton’s mom wrote this.
“Today…..September 17, 2016 at 12:56 Dalton Lee Prager joined his sister, Samantha, and grandfather, Larry, in Heaven. You may Breathe Easy now my son. You are my true hero. ~~Love Forever, Mom”
Dalton’s funeral is set to take place in Missouri on Wednesday. A GoFundMe page has been setup to help the family with his remaining medical bills and the cost for the funeral.
[Featured Image by Dalton and Katie Prager’s Transplant Page/Facebook]