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Little Boy Who Received Heart Transplant News in Viral Video Suffers Serious Setbacks

Photograph by Rachel Rubin

Whose heart didn't absolutely melt when 5-year-old Ari Schultz received news that a much-needed heart transplant was coming after spending close to eight months at Boston Children's Hospital? The little boy's reaction to finally receiving a heart transplant after 211 days on the transplant list quickly went viral. But sadly, the news since then hasn't been as wonderful.

Ari's condition has taken a turn, his parents Mike and Erica Schultz told People, and he's experiencing acute rejection of the new heart. On March 22, Ari went into cardiac arrest and had to be put on life support. As of the family's last update on April 6, Ari is awake and alert, but not out of the woods.

Echo of Hope is the blog where they've chronicled his illness for family, friends and strangers who wish him well.

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To make matters worse (because your kid having heart failure wasn't already the worst thing ever), they recently received another piece of bad news: The family's home has such a severe black mold problem that it's been deemed uninhabitable and must be torn down.

"He’s being brave and he’s teaching us how to be brave," she says in the video posted to their blog.

The family had previously set up a GoFundMe page in order to help fundraise for Ari's surgery, but the page has now been set to raising money so that they can build a new home as well. The family also asks on the GoFundMe page for people to donate goods and services such as an electrical contractor, appliances, off-site storage and more if they can help that way instead.

"I bumped into a fellow heart dad and good friend also living at the hospital long-term with his son," Mike Schultz wrote in a blog post recently. "We talked about how, when faced with major life challenges, our inclination as men is to bear down, work harder, fix problems and don’t ask for help. But we both learned that if we want to help our families now, it’s too heavy a weight to bear alone. Yet it’s still our job to man up and fix the problems. To do that, we need to learn from our sons about being brave, and about what manning up really means."

The April 6 blog update did have one small piece of good news, though. They've found a rental home with a lease that starts May 1.

"As long as Ari walks out the front door of the hospital, though, we'll be fine," Ari's dad, Mike Schultz wrote. "The house is just a house. Home is where your family is."

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Photo provided by the Schultz family.

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