Anyone with a heart will be moved to tears by this video of a little boy finding out he’s finally going to get a new heart.
Five-year-old Ari Schultz was diagnosed with critical aortic stenosis — one of the most common and most serious valve disease problems — before he was even born, according to Echo of Hope, the website set up in his honor. His parents, Mike and Erica, agreed to let doctors intervene when Ari was still in utero at just 20 weeks, so that he would not be born with a two-chamber heart. In the years since, the brave little fighter has exceeded expectations and even broken records, as the first person to ever undergo two successful heart surgeries before being born. He’s also only the fifth person in the world to receive the experimental Melody valve, designed to replace failing pulmonary valves, in his mitral position. On top of all that…? He has had more than 20 surgeries, plus three of his four heart valves replaced.
Throughout the whole ordeal, Ari has been a joy to all who know him.
His parents say Ari is a “a rabid sports fan … is mesmerized discovering the world of Harry Potter, adores his sister Lexi and brother Eli, and is an all around good kid.” Unfortunately, he’s recently had to put his young life on hold, living as an inpatient at Boston Children’s Hospital for the past four months while suffering from congestive heart failure.
Upon learning their pint-sized baseball fanatic was finally receiving a new heart, Ari’s parents decided to document sharing the wonderful news with their son on camera.
“You know how you like going to the baseball games, right?” Ari’s dad tells him at the start of the video. “Do you want to go to a Red Sox game this season?”
“Yes,” Ari replies, while gripping his baseball bat in one hand.
“I was talking to the doctors a few minutes ago,” his dad continues, “and… you know how they’ve been looking for a heart for a long time? I think they found one and it might be perfect for you!”
Warning: When you see the look of joy and surprise that spreads across this 5-year-old’s face, as he exclaims, “They found one?!” — it will likely cause tears, all the feels. Not to mention when he tearfully asks if he can go home and have more water, or when he wonders if he’s going to forget the times he played baseball… oh, what a sweet, sweet child. And a much-needed reminder to be thankful for what we have.
As of today, Ari’s family has reported that he is out of the CICU and doing “a little better every day.” We’re all rooting for you, Ari — and hope you’re out at Fenway Park rooting for the Red Sox soon!