Real-life ‘Fault in Our Stars’ couple gets a tragic ending

  • Katie and Dalton Prager are a terminally ill couple whose love story mimics that of the novel and film “The Fault in Our Stars”
  • Both were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis
  • Dalton passed away from complications stemming from cystic fibrosis while Katie is currently in hospice care

A depressing illustration of when life imitates art, much like the popular John Green novel that later went on to have a film adaptation, The Fault in Our Stars, this is a tear-jerking love story of two terminally ill lovers who fought with all their might to be together.

Katie and Dalton Prager’s romance began when they met online and were both 18 years old. Both had cystic fibrosis (CF), a  terminal genetic disorder that damages the lungs. Doctors warn strongly against close contact between CF patients to avoid contracting infections that can jeopardize their health such as Burkholderia cepacia, which Dalton had.

“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,” Katie told CNN. “That was definitely something I had to think about, but when you have those feelings, you just know.”

Two years later into their relationship, they got married in 2011.

As doctors predicted, Katie contracted Burkholderia cepacia but they soldiered on.

In November 2014, Dalton underwent a lung transplant and was seemingly on his way to living a full life, but then he learned that he had lymphoma. He went to complete his cancer treatment but only to be hospitalized later on with pneumonia and a viral infection.

Meanwhile, Katie, 26, endured her own share of medical struggles; from insurance battles to multiple failed transplants. Now in hospice care, it is doubtful that she will survive beyond December.

Both decided not to give up and said their deaths will not be in a hospital but instead surrounded by loved ones.

Dalton, 25, passed away Saturday afternoon, September 17; hours after the couple talked over Facetime to say their goodbyes.

“She told him that she loved him,” Katie’s mother, Debra Donovan said. “We don’t know if he heard her.”

“My angel, my best friend, the love of my life, my husband went to be with the Lord our God today,” Katie wrote on their Facebook page that chronicled their highs and lows. “Dalton fought a long hard battle with Cystic Fibrosis. He was a courageous fighter and ‘give up’ wasn’t in his vocabulary.”

A comment from Pamula Ivy summarizes the sentiments of many: “So many people learned about cystic Fibrosis, unconditional love and true strength from the two of you Katie Prager and Dalton Prager. You are forever connected and will be together again where you both can breathe and do all the things that you couldn’t here in your earthly forms but heaven has no boundaries. Love and God bless you all and your families.”