A brave Massachusetts boy has endure more than six months inside a hospital, undergoing multiple surgeries, including a heart transplant. Though it’s been a long and emotional journey for 5-year-old Ari Schultz, he did receive some exciting news earlier this week: He would return home sooner than expected. Much, much sooner.
According to ABC affiliate WCVB, Ari was released Friday after spending 189 days at Boston Children's Hospital. His family recorded his reaction to the big news and shared the heartwarming moment on YouTube.
Ari’s journey went viral about three months ago, after his parents shared a video of him taken shortly before his heart surgery. In the footage, the boy’s mom and dad explain that he’s finally getting a new heart, which prompts several questions: Ari asks where the new heart will go, whether or not the doctors will poke him, and if he’ll remember how to play baseball after he comes out of the surgery. The video has been viewed nearly half a million times.
A couple of weeks after his life-saving heart transplant, Ari experienced acute rejection and was placed on life support.
“When he arrested on March 22 we had no idea if Ari would come back to us at all,” his father, Mike Schultz, wrote in a blog post. “And, if he did, whether our little boy would still be anything near the same. Against all odds, he did. He’s here.”
Though Ari has left the hospital, his family said they still have “huge hills to climb.” The child will be on 21 different medications, will have IV infusions every two weeks, and will be put on oxygen for the time being. There’s still a long road ahead, but Ari’s father is optimistic.
“From here forward, Ari […] will have a chance to live well like the rest of us. Go to school, grow up, have fun, make mistakes, have struggles and so on,” he wrote. “I don’t know what any of that will be, and I don’t know for how long. I am, however, certainly looking forward finding out, and am forever grateful for every day of sparkle and shine yet to come.”