The story of Dalton and Katie Prager is both sad and beautiful. They were both sick when they met, but their love overcame all obstacles.
They met for the first time in 2011 and realized that they had a lot in common – and less than a year later, they got married.
The couple was in a hurry because they both had cystic fibrosis. According to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the rare disease "causes a thick, sticky buildup of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and other organs." This eventually causes respiratory failure and prevents the body extracting nutrients from food.
Dalton and Katie were cared for at hospitals in different parts of the United States, but they called each other every day.
Both of them were on the national lung transplant waiting list. Even though they were gravely ill, they got as much of out of their marriage as possible and they loved each other deeply.
But one day, Dalton's healthtook a sharp turn for the worse.
Katie called her husband as usual one evening, but this time, his mother picked up the phone. She told Katie that Dalton's condition had deteriorated in the previous few hours. He felt terrible and wasn't going to survive.
Katie responded by making a drastic decision. She scratched her name from the lung transplant waiting list. Since she was ahead of Dalton, in the queue, her husband was now one step closer to getting new lungs.
Her decision may have saved Dalton's life. He got new lungs and his surgery went well. Half a year later, Katie also got new lungs, and she and Dalton hoped that this was a new beginning.
But unfortunately, it wasn't. A few weeks later, Dalton suffered a serious viral infection and came down with pneumonia. Katie wanted desperately to meet her husband, but it would be risky. Coming into contact with Dalton could threaten her life – and his also. Their greatly impaired immune systems were already working at full capacity.
Dalton's condition only got worse, and at the same time, Katie's body began to reject her lungs.
Soon, it became apparent that neither of them would survive. So the couple decided to ignore their doctors' recomendations and meet up one last time. Dalton packed a bag and got ready to visit Katie and celebrate Christmas with her. It was only September, but it didn't matter. They both loved Christmas and wanted to celebrate it one last time together.
Dalton was supposed to go on September 17, but he never made it. Just a few hours before he was to leave, he passed away, surrounded by his family and Katie (via a video call).
But Katie's message after her husband passed wasn't sad, but was instead filled with love and happiness. "I'd rather have five years of being in love and just really completely happy than 20 years of not having anybody," she told CNN.
Katie passed away just one day after Dalton's funeral.
This is indeed a very sad story, but at the same time, it's very beautiful. Dalton and Katie found each other, got married, and lived together, even though they were both seriously ill.
They left this world just a few days apart, and now, they can be together forever on the other side.
Rest in peace.