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Ari “Danger” Schultz Ice-Cream Social

Paul Theriault, Producer

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Ari “Danger” Schultz, a five year old from Stow Massachusetts, was diagnosed with critical aortic stenosis and evolving hypoplastic left heart syndrome during his 18 week ultrasound. His parents, Erica and Mike Schultz, have been sharing a public blog about their journey with their son and his condition. In one of their posts they said, “[t]his meant if we didn’t intervene before he was born he would have only a 2 chamber heart. We did, indeed, intervene, first at 20 weeks of gestation, setting us on a wild and unexpected path.” The condition had begun before Ari was even born, and over the past 5 years, Ari has lived an eventful life both inside and outside the hospital. In 2015, Ari was placed on the heart transplant list. ,

On March 3rd, 2017, Ari’s parents posted the following on his Facebook page: “211 days ago Ari was officially listed for a heart transplant. Today the counting stops. If praying is what you do, now is the time, for Ari, and for Ari’s donor and family. We’ve been thinking about them, their sacrifice, their sorrow, and their immense kindness non stop. And will every day for the rest of our lives. Now, for Ari, it’s go time.” Within hours, Ari was in surgery to receive his heart transplant. On March 4th, Erica Schultz shared that, “[t]he new heart is in and beating. They finished surgery in the wee hours of the morning and so far Ari is doing well. His chest is still open and he will be paralyzed and sedated for days. He has a long road ahead of him but today begins the journey and now we take it one day at a time.”

Since receiving the new heart, the family has been faced with multiple setbacks. First, Ari experienced transplant rejection and was placed into the CICU (Cardiac Intensive Care Unit) at Boston Children’s Hospital. He is currently doing as best he can, and has been able to take a few steps by himself. The second obstacle that the family has faced is their home being deemed a “sick house”. The parents said, “with quite a bit of expert counsel, we’ve decided it’ll be safer and less risky for the family – even if it costs more – to tear the house down and rebuild from scratch. Can’t have hidden mold we never see still in the house when Ari gets home, or take the chance we’ll have to move once he’s settled in.” The family later shared that they learned that, “It’s our understanding that insurance covers mold (that you can find), not the causes of leaks and structural fixes. Which means paying for demolishing our house and building a new one is on us. We get to keep our old mortgage while we raise the house, and then try to build another house from scratch. And this is after, you know, how our year has gone so far.”
With a plethora of expensive medical bills from Ari’s health issues, and having to rebuild their home, the community decided that they needed to come together to help the family. Friends of the family started to raise funds to help them start a new life. Stow residents Sara Salamone, Emily Stewart and Sherry Jusseaume worked to organize an ice-cream social to raise money for Ari and his family. The ice-cream social took place on Friday, May 12th, 2017 at Hale Middle School in Stow, Massachusetts. Jusseaume shared that “We all initially met the Schultz’s when Ari attended preschool at the Center School. FWe’ve all became friendly and have stayed in close contact with the Schultz’s while Ari has been at Boston Children’s Hospital.” She goes on to say that over $11,000 was raised through the sale of ice cream, silent auction items and wristbands with around 810 people attending the event. The event coordinators were extremely appreciative of the over $15,400 in silent auction items that were donated. Salamone stated that “The family seemed quite surprised by the turnout”. She posted on facebook that she felt recharged after the event and wanted to bring all that positive energy that she felt back to Ari. Erica Schultz attended the event with her parents and children, Eli and Lexi. She said she loved her Stow family. “You all are the best and we are very luck to be a part of such an awesome community.”

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Ari “Danger” Schultz Ice-Cream Social