Did A Real Life Couple Inspire ‘Five Feet Apart’?

Many have said that Five Feet Apart is set to be the new Fault In Our Stars.

The 2019 film will introduce yet another teen couple who fall in love but experience tragedy when physical illness gets in the way.

Five Feet Apart
Haley Lu Richardson and Cole Sprouse in ‘Five Feet Apart’ | via Instagram

Though this type of love story is not the ideal situation, it was for one couple who is said to be the inspiration behind this film.

The film surrounds two teens who find love in a hospital

Just five years after the release of the heartwrenching love story, The Fault in Our Stars, another film about two teenagers battling illnesses who find love is making us feel that same type of heartbreak.

Five Feet Apart tells the story of Will Newman and Stella Grant (played by Cole Sprouse and Haley Lu Richardson).

The two teenagers both have cystic fibrosis, a chronic genetic disorder that affects the lungs and limits a persons’ ability to breathe over time.

Will and Stella meet in the corridor of the hospital they are both receiving treatment at and instantly feel a connection. Even though they like each other, they are not permitted to get within five feet of one another.

Though they want to be able to touch, patients with cystic fibrosis must keep their distance from each other in order to avoid cross contamination.

With this story only being a fiction, this genetic disorder affected a real-life couple who did not let their cancer get in the way of their love.

This film is very similar to a highly publicized love story

Just like Hazel and Gus in The Fault in Our Stars, Will and Stella resemble a real-life couple who made headlines a few years back as cancer patients who fell in love.

18-years-olds Katie Donovan and Dalton Prager met each other in 2009 on a Facebook page for those suffering from cystic fibrosis.

They instantly fell hard for one another and constantly sent each other love messages on Facebook since they were not able to meet in person due to the risk of cross-contamination.

In Dalton case, the risk of contamination was heightened since he suffered from Burkholderia cepacia, a bacteria resistant to antibiotics that can lead to lung function decline.

In Five Feet Apart, Will has the same infection as Dalton and doctors continue to urge him to stay away from Stella.

Doctors urged Katie not to meet Dalton, but she ended up doing so anyway.

Dalton and his mother drove six hours from their home in Missouri to Kentucky so he could meet Katie for the very first time.

“My heart was racing, but I just went right up to him and hugged and kissed him on the mouth without even saying hello,” she said about that day. “I’m usually not that kind of girl, but it just felt so right.”

For their first date, Katie and Dalton spent a few hours having fun at an amusement park in Ohio. Though they had the best time together, Katie soon contracted Burkholderia cepacia from Dalton.

Their love continued until their final days

Even though Katie ended up contracting the infection from Dalton, that did not stop them from continuing their relationship.

In 2011, two years after their first date, Katie and Dalton married and bought a house together in Flemingsburg, Kentucky.

The couple lived happily together and even remained relatively healthy for the next few years.

 “I knew that there was a possibility that we would get sicker and something could happen,” Katie told People. “I just told Dalton I’d rather have somebody that I was totally in love with for five years, than be either lonely or not as happy with somebody for 20 years.”

In 2014, both Katie and Dalton entered the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center due to the infection in their lungs worsening.

On November 17, Dalton received a lung transplant and Katie received her transplant a few months later.

Dalton’s was doing well at first but eventually developed lymphoma. Katie’s procedure did not go as well as Dalton’s and she eventually started receiving hospice care at her home in Kentucky.

Though Dalton overcame Burkholderia cepacia, he was soon hospitalized in Missouri with pneumonia and a viral infection. He was soon put on a ventilator.

Dalton’s family wanted to find a way for him to be transferred to a hospital in Kentucky in order for him to be closer to Katie, but Dalton was just too weak.

On September 17, 2016, Dalton Prager died at the hospital in Missouri while Katie was speaking to him on FaceTime.

Just five days later, Katie passed away.

Before Katie died, she knew her and Dalton’s love story was one that needed to be shared with the world. She knew that their story would live on for years to come all because of the joy and happiness the gave each other.

“I think that if we had gotten the chance to write a book that it would have been a bestseller,” Katie said. “And they lived happily ever after, in each other’s arms for eternity.”