Only days after the passing of her husband Dalton, Katie Prager has also passed away. Dalton and Katie, dubbed “the real-life ‘Fault in Our Stars’ couple,” had both been suffering from cystic fibrosis. Husband Dalton Prager passed away on Saturday at the age of 25, and his wife Katie passed on Thursday at the age of 26. They had celebrated their fifth anniversary in July.
Katie’s mom posted a touching message on the couple’s joint Facebook account this morning.
“9524 days ago, I had the pleasure of meeting a person that would not only change my life but also touch and inspire those around her. My Katie is one of kind, she loved her family, so crazy about her brother Jake, and her many friends. She never met a stranger, she could turn a dire situation into a moment of fun and laughter. Early this morning, she gained her wish of being at home, in her bed, surrounded by her mom, dad, brother and her dogs, dying peacefully, away from the hospital, tubes, IVs.”
Dalton’s mother, Reenee, also posted a farewell message to her daughter in law.
“I truly believe Dalton had prepared a place for his wife, just as the pastor talked about yesterday at Daltons service. I am thankful she got to spend time with her family Saturday, as hard as it was after watching her husband pass. She had said she didn’t know if she could go to the family event after that but just as Dalton had given me the strength to get through the last few day, he had given her the strength knowing it would be her last outing. Please pray for the family. Together, they are giving us all strength.”
At the time of her husband’s passing, Katie Prager was in hospice in Flemingsburg, Kentucky. Both Dalton and Katie have had a long and hard struggle with cystic fibrosis, and the disease, which took Dalton’s life last Saturday, had also prevented his wife from being close to him at the time of his passing.
During Dalton’s final moments at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, Katie reportedly spoke to him on the phone from her home in Kentucky, where she remained in hospice care. Katie’s mother, Debra Donovan, had told CNN that the couple had FaceTimed, although she wasn’t too sure if Dalton, who had been on a ventilator at the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit for the past two weeks, heard her.
“She told him that she loved him. We don’t know if he heard her.”
Following Dalton’s passing, five days before her own, Katie had posted this emotional message on their Facebook page.
“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.”
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 Katie’s doctors that there was nothing more they could do for her. She had been in hospice at her home in Kentucky ever since. She passed away on Thursday, only five days after the passing of the love of her life. These are the sort of stories fairy tales are made of. The short, sad, yet beautiful story of Dalton & Katie can be an inspiration to many. Katie’s mother says she is proud of how her daughter chose to live her short life.
“The days to follow will not be easy but I find comfort in knowing that my girl lived, she really lived. If there is something you want to do, don’t wait. Life is short, love as hard as you can.”
Dalton’s funeral took place in Missouri on Wednesday. Katie’s is set for next week. A GoFundMe page has been setup to help the families with the remaining medical bills and the cost of the funeral.
[Featured Image by Dalton and Katie Prager’s Transplant Page/Facebook]