Katie Prager, one-half of the couple whose story was a real-life version of The Fault In Our Stars, died on Thursday after battling cystic fibrosis and from complications following a lung transplant. She was only 26 years old.
Here is a look at her life and death.
1. Her Husband Dalton Died Just Five Days Before Her Death
Katie’s mother announced her daughter’s death on Facebook. Her statement reads:
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 Saturdsy [sic], 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. Togethet [sic], they are giving us all strength.
Katie had been in hospice care at their Flemisburg, Kentucky home on September 2, notes WHAS.
Katie’s death came just five days after her husband died. Dalton’s mother posted a message on September 17, sharing new pictures of her son. Katie and his mother wrote:
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
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
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2. The Couple Met on Facebook & Were Both Diagnosed With Cystic Fibrosis
Dalton and Katie gained international attention because their story was similar to John Green’s 2012 novel The Fault In Our Stars, which later became a movie in 2014. As CNN notes, their interaction on Facebook began in 2009 when Katie saw a photo of Dalton in the hospital that his mother shared. Even though they didn’t know each other, Katie offered to be a soundboard if he needed to talk.
They both learned that they were diagnosed with cystic fibrosis and they were falling in love. At first, Katie’s doctor didn’t want her to meet Dalton because he had an infection called Burkholderia cepacia that would be dangerous for her. However, in August 2009, she met him anyway, driving to Flemisburg, Kentucky, where Dalton lived, from her St. Charles, Missouri home.
Two years after meeting, they got married and lived in Flemisburg.
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3. Both Dalton & Katie Underwent Lung Transplants
In 2014, Dalton’s infection required that both of them get lung transplants and traveled to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Dalton had his transplant in November 2014, but Katie didn’t have hers until July 2015.
Dalton later developed lymphoma and was in a Missouri hospital for pneumonia and a viral infection before his death. Katie’s transplant went well, but she continued to make frequent hospital visits and entered hospice care at their Kentucky home.
“She’s a selfless person,” Katie’s mother, Debra Donovan, told Kentucky.com. “She always puts other people before herself.”
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4. A YouCaring Page Has Raised Over $30,000 For Her Funeral
Katie’s family set up a YouCaring page to raise money for the funeral expenses. So far, the fmaily has already raised over $30,000 online.
Kentucky.com reports that Katie’s family gave her an early Christmas on September 18, just hours before they heard of Dalton’s death.
“All my family and friends are here and it looks really pretty inside and outside. It’s a good atmosphere,” Katie said.
The week before her party, she decided that she wanted to die naturally and all lifesaving measures were ended. She only remained on dialysis.
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5. Dalton & Katie Were Not Able to Meet One Last Time Before Their Deaths
Because of their health, they could not spend their last moments together in the same state. Dalton died at a hospital in St. Louis, while Katie died at their Kentucky home. He was planning one last road trip to see her in person. Unfortunately, the last time he saw her was over a FaceTime chat from his hospital bed.
“He wasn’t ready to go. he still had things he wanted to do, but God had other plans for him,” Tammy Krumrey, Dalton’s aunt, told KSDK. “There are people all over the world have picked up their story and loved them as much as we love them.
“It gave me some of the best years of my life,” Katie told CNN when asked if she regretted meeting Dalton because of his infection. “I’d rather have five years of being in love and just really completely happy than 20 years of not having anybody.”
“My angel, my best friend, the love of my life, my husband went to be with the Lord our God today. … He was a courageous fighter and ‘give up’ wasn’t in his vocabulary,” Katie wrote after Dalton died.
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