Though Katie Prager and Dalton Prager have died, the love between the real-life ‘Fault In Our Stars’ couple will live on. As the world continues to mourn their passing, learn more about Cystic Fibrosis, the disease that led to Katie and Dalton’s death.
1. CF is a genetic disorder – so it’s not contagious.
Katie, 26, tragically passed away on Sept. 22, just a mere five days after her husband, Dalton, 25, died. This couple was dubbed “the real-life Fault In Our Stars couple” because the found love despite both being diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis.
CF is a progressive, genetic disease that causes persistent lung infections and limits a person’s ability to breathe over time, according to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. People with CF are born with a defective gene that causes their body to produce a thick buildup of mucus in their lungs, pancreases and other organs. The thick mucus clogs the airways in the lungs, trapping bacteria that results in infections, scarring and ultimately, respiratory failure.
2. There are a wide variety of symptoms.
People with CF often have a persistent cough, some times with phlegm. They also can have very salty-tasting skin, frequent lung infections, poor growth and/or weight gain. Males with CF often are infertile, as well.
3. Dalton and Katie took a major risk by falling in love.
CF can be a very isolating disease, because those with cystic fibrosis are advised not to meet other CF patients in person. People with CF carry specific types of bacteria in their lungs, and there’s a risk of cross-infection, per the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. These bacteria could cause serious infections and very likely shorten a CF patient’s life.
4. People with CF get it from their folks – even if their parents don’t have CF.
A person with cystic fibrosis inherited two copies of the defective CF gene, one from each parent. If someone has one copy of the CF gene, they’re called carriers (but they don’t have the disease.) When two CF carries have a kid, there’s a 25% chance the child will have cystic fibrosis, a 50% chance that the child will be a carrier and 25% that the defective gene will not get passed.
5. There’s hope for CF patients to live longer and happier lives.
Cystic Fibrosis used to be considered a “child killer” disease. Yet, advances in treatment — which include inhaled medicines, pancreatic enzyme supplements and airway clearance therapies — have resulted in more than half of the current 70,000 worldwide CF patients living past 18 years of age. While Katie and Dalton were still so young when they died, thanks to science, they were given a chance to live long enough to find happiness and love.
Our thoughts continue to go out to Katie and Dalton’s family and friends during their time of loss.