Ari Schultz has undergone more than 10 surgeries, including a heart transplant. He takes more than 20 kinds of medication, all at different times.
He is only 5 years old.
And this weekend, he got the best treat of his young life: He got to go home.
"Great!” he exclaimed after his dad, Mike, told him that after 189 days at Boston Children’s Hospital, he could finally get the heck out of there.
The boy had endured operations to repair his damaged heart before he even left the womb.
An ultrasound taken at 18 weeks showed Ari’s heart was malformed. Without surgical intervention, he would have only two chambers instead of four, his father said.
He’s had three of his four heart valves replaced. In March, Ari received a new heart, but even that life-saving gift has created additional trauma for the little boy.
His body rejected it, and the child suffered cardiac arrest as a result and had to be placed on life support, according to his family’s website, Echo of Hope.
Through it all, Ari’s fondest wish was a simple one: He just wanted to go home.
On Friday, that wish was granted. Over the weekend, he was over the moon, his dad said.
On Father’s Day, he went to the golf course with his pop. He played with his siblings. He also partook in a little baseball.
He had to return to the hospital Monday for a scheduled catheterization to look inside his heart, but his family hopes he will be back at home following the procedure.
While Ari was in the hospital, his family lost their house to a severe mold infestation and is now living in a Sudbury rental. A YouCaring fund has been established to help with expenses.
“He’s doing well,” family friend Genna Rosenberg told InsideEdition.com. “He got to be home for Father’s Day.”
The child must take 21 medications, at differing times and in differing amounts.
“The meds alone are a full-time job,” Rosenberg said.
But having Ari home is worth it. His family has learned to take each moment as it comes.
“They’re going to take it one day at a time,” Rosenberg said.