By Leah Gauquier:
Ari Schultz was quick to smile, had a very infectious laugh, and had quite the love for baseball. But he was different then your typical 5-year-old; instead of enrolling in little league and practicing his baseball swing, Ari spent most of his time in and out of hospitals. Before Ari was born, he was diagnosed with a major heart complication, fetal critical aortic stenosis. Ari had to undergo over 10 heart surgeries in his life.
Ari Schultz was nicknamed “Danger” by family members and hospital staff because of his energy and never give up attitude. He was a fighter who touched the lives of all he came into contact with. He faced all of his hospitalizations and treatments with courage.
On November 9, National Signing Day for Division 1 and II colleges and universities, Ari’s passion for baseball was finally realized. With the help of Team IMPACT (Inspire, Motivate, and Play Against Challenges Together), Ari signed to become a part of the Assumption College baseball team.
Ari would come to team practices and events, working on his skills with the team. The team made a relationship with Ari they will never forget. Many members of the team visited him at the hospital before and after his heart transplant surgery.
Ari underwent heart transplant surgery after 211 days of waiting on the transplant list, in March 2017.
Only days after surgery, Ari’s new heart experienced acute rejection. After a severe seizure, little Ari was rushed to the hospital and placed on life support. On the evening of July 21, 2017, his parents posted to Facebook that “Ari passed away peacefully this evening while listening to the Red Sox”.
Ari’s involvement with the team not only lifted his spirits throughout his daily health battles, but also impacted the baseball team in a big way. Derek Adamson, a sophomore at Assumption College and catcher on the team, says “Just seeing the whole family side of it, and we were very close to his family, changed how I see life. I became a lot more appreciative of life. This experience absolutely changed me.” Adamson was among the members of the team to attend Ari’s funeral. He was personally close with Ari and his family.
Since Ari’s death, people have expressed their grief on social media outlets such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Members of the assumption baseball team wrote Ari’s baseball number, 35, on their cleats in order to remember Ari and his story. The Assumption baseball team is having a game to honor Ari and his memory in the last week of April.
To learn more about Ari’s story and the Team IMPACT visit: