Caitlin Keating
April 19, 2017 05:38 PM

The parents of Ari Schultz — the 5-year-old boy who received a heart transplant after spending 211 days at Boston Children’s Hospital — are now paying it forward and trying to save 100,000 lives.

Because April is National Donate Life month, Mike and Erica Schultz have launched a campaign by enlisting over 12,500 new people to register as organ donors.

Ari’s story originally went viral after a tender video of him was shared right as he was told that he’d be receiving a heart. But shortly after his surgery on March 3, his body began to reject his new organ and he went into cardiac arrest. Miraculously, he pulled through on April 15 and started to breath on his own and is now in stable condition, according to the family’s blog.

“Our son Ari is an inspiration to us. He’s taught us to be brave. He’s shown us how to fight. Our lives have been difficult recently. It would be easy to sit here and do nothing. But for Ari, and for every person and child waiting for the gift of a life-saving organ, we felt we could make a difference. So we’re doing what we can, and hoping people join us to help save #100kLives,” Mike said in a written statement. “We think about the donor family and the enormous, selfless, life-saving choice they made during their most devastating moment.”

While Mike and Erica are by Ari’s bedside, they’re not sitting still.

“When we were first told Ari needed a heart, we learned there are not enough organ donors. Ari was given an 80% chance of surviving the wait because it could be so long and he was so sick,” Mike wrote on their blog, Echo of Hope. “If you are a donor, you can help spread the news. If you aren’t, you can register and save lives! It takes one minute to register and you can do it online.”

Along with the ups and downs they’ve had with Ari’s condition, the family also found out that their home needed to be torn down after a dangerous black mold was discovered in their home. A GoFundMe page, which started off a fundraising tool for Ari, is also now raising money so the family can build a new home.

“We are completely amazed by the shows of financial and housing support for us when we lost everything. We have a great team working on building a safe and comfortable new house similar to our old one right on the same spot,” wrote Mike.

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