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Human Interest

5-Year-Old Who Had Heartwarming Reaction to Heart Transplant Is Now Rejecting New Organ

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Two weeks ago, 5-year-old Ari Schultz received a heart transplant after spending 211 days at Boston Children’s Hospital. Ari’s heartwarming reaction to his transplant quickly went viral.

But Ari’s status has taken a turn for the worse post-surgery as his parents Mike and Erica Schultz reveal that he’s experiencing acute rejection of his new heart.

“He went downhill and needed operations and procedures every day this week,” Erica wrote on the family’s blog Echo of Hope.

Yet he’s still staying strong.

“He’s being brave and he’s teaching us how to be brave,” Erica said in a new video they posted on the blog.

To make matters worse, the Shultz’s have discovered a dangerous black mold problem in their home. A contractor told them they had a “sick house” and that it needed to be torn down.

According to the family, insurance will only pay to remove the mold, not fix the underlying issue. A GoFundMe page which started off a fundraising tool for Ari is also now raising money so the family can build a new home.

“The Schultzes need to get Ari well, but at the same time, they need to find a place to live, and then need to rebuild their house for their family, including their other two small children Lexi and Eli,” part of the page reads.

“I bumped into a fellow heart dad and good friend also living at the hospital long-term with his son,” Mike wrote in a blog post. “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.”