The moment a five-year-old finds out he's getting a new heart

Five-year-old Ari Schultz is recovering from a heart transplant operation earlier this month.
Five-year-old Ari Schultz is recovering from a heart transplant operation earlier this month. Photo: Facebook/Ari 'Danger' Schultz

It is something no child should ever have to endure. 

But five-year-old Ari Schultz is a picture of stoicism when told he would be undergoing a heart transplant later that day.

Ari was still in-utero when he was diagnosed with critical aortic stenosis.

"This meant if we didn't intervene before he was born he would have only a two chamber heart," his family shared on a website for Ari. "We did, indeed, intervene, first at 20 weeks of gestation, setting us on a wild and unexpected path."

Ari has had a lifetime of health issues since then, and has recently been living at Boston Children's Hospital waiting for a heart transplant because doctors said he was too fragile to go home. And on 3 March, after waiting for 211 days, doctors gave Ari's parents the great news that a suitable heart had been found.

Ari's parents Mike and Erica then shared the news with Ari while filming his response. The result was this incredibly touching video they uploaded to YouTube.

Ari is clearly a child who has been through a lot, and he holds back tears as he begins asking questions about when he can go home, and whether he'll need an IV.

Then Ari returns to playing baseball with his dad, ready for whatever life throws at him next.


On 8 March, Mike shared an update on Ari's condition:

"As of now, he's stable in the cardiac intensive care unit. He is deeply sedated and has a breathing tube in. He looks like he's resting comfortably."

Mike went on to explain that Ari is not out of the woods, and he has traded one illness for another. As a heart recipient he has a lifetime of medication to expect, and there are many risks that come with the recovery.

Ari is expected to take one to three months to recover from the heart transplant. But his parents are just grateful to have a new hope. "Expectations don't really matter," says Mike. "We're day to day."