Family of 5-year-old asks for help after boy's transplant rejection and loss of home

A child is lying in a hospital bed (file photo)

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A child is lying in a hospital bed (file photo)

A 5-year-old boy who stole hearts when he learned he was getting a long-awaited heart transplant is now being treated for acute rejection.

The family received more bad news recently when they learned their house needs to be torn down because of a mold infestation.

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Ari Schultz went viral two weeks ago after his family shared a video online showing his heartwarming reaction to getting a new heart.

“Are they going to find a good spot to put it?” Ari asked his parents in the video.

Ari was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. He underwent two successful heart surgeries when he was still in his mother’s womb. Ari, who has been in and out of the hospital for most of his life, spent 211 days at Boston Children’s Hospital, and finally learned he would be getting a new heart earlier this month.

After a successful surgery, Ari was recovering well. But according a post on his website, Echo of Hope, things recently took a turn for Ari and his family yet again.

“Ari is being treated for acute rejection,” father Mike Schultz wrote in the post. “Ari is struggling mightily. He went downhill and needed operations and procedures every day this week… The pokes and sticks were relentless. The rejection treatment, which takes a while, is horribly uncomfortable.”

The family said Ari was excited at the prospect of going home, but now “home just got a little further away.”

Then, they got even more bad news.

“Well, when it rains, it pours. When it pours, little did we know, mold was growing in the walls, floors and ceilings of our house. Just found out. At first we thought we’d remediate the mold, fix the leaks and put the house back together. Turns out it’s not that simple,” wrote Mike Schultz.

He said their home needs to be completely torn down.

In a video shared by the family, mother Erica Schultz said Ari’s resilience is inspiring them all.

“He’s scared. He’s terrified,” she said. “And now he’s being treated for acute rejection, and we’re trying to beat it back. He’s being brave and he’s teaching us how to be brave.”

The family is asking for financial help during this difficult time. So far, they have raised more than $130,000 in less than two weeks. Their goal is $500,000. If you would like to donate, click here.

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