Five-year-old Ari "Danger" Schultz has been a fighter since before he was born, when his 18-week ultrasound scan diagnosed him with "critical aortic stenosis and evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome" — which meant he needed surgery to prevent him being born with a two-chamber heart.
Since that first surgery at 20 weeks gestation, he's encountered about 20 other operations, has suffered from congestive heart failure, and, earlier this year, experienced cardiac arrest, which occurred after he received a heart transplant. However, despite this difficult life path he's been on since before his birth, Ari, a total sports fanatic, manages to stay positive, touching the lives of those around him as only someone truly special can.
In a video posted to his YouTube channel, AriEchoOfHope, the 5-year-old can be seen swinging around a baseball bat in a Red Sox jersey at Boston Children's Hospital, where he'd been living inpatient for 187 days at the time of filming. Behind the camera, Ari's dad, Mike, speaks to his son, asking him questions about his heart transplant and his time in the hospital thus far.
"Remember when we talked about going home someday? . . . I think something changed," Mike says in the video, alluding to the weeks of time the family believed to have left in the hospital. Ari's face immediately lights up as he asks about what changed. "I think it's going to be days now . . . do you want to go home on Friday?" his dad asks him, as his smile grows even wider and he announces that's just two days away.
As the video continues, Ari exclaims how long 189 days — the amount of time he would have been in the hospital by the time he left on Friday — has been ("crazy!") and talks about what he wants to do when he gets home (practice his golf swing in the backyard, among other athletic things).
Following their chat, Ari asks to get going playing baseball, which is what they originally went outside the hospital to do. Fittingly, the boy hits a "two-run home run" on his first swing of the bat and does a victorious loop around the makeshift bases to celebrate. The little boy's excitement and disbelief throughout the video are completely contagious — you'll find yourself smiling and tearing up as you can't help but root for him.
To root for him further, you can visit the family's donation page for Ari's medical fund or join the family's cause in getting 12,500 new people to register as organ donors to save 100,000 lives.