NEWTON (CBS) – Kelly O’Leary Schultz is a teacher, a marathoner, a mom, and now, suddenly, a widow. “It’s just so devastating,” said Kelly. “It’s just so crazy how life throws you these curve-balls.”
Her husband David Schultz was only 40 years-old when died last weekend while competing in a triathlon.
He was a life-long athlete, with medals to prove it. Kelly says Saturday’s triathlon in Hopkinton was his eighth or ninth. He was fit and at a recent physical declared to be healthy.
“It was something he was going to do for fun,” Kelly said.
But minutes into his swim, he was waving for help.
“A heart attack was out of the blue,” she said. “If it was a heart attack. We don’t even know that.”
David was unconscious when rescuers pulled him out. Kelly got a call and was told to get to the hospital.
“And you know when they pull you into that family waiting room and hand you a box of tissues, that you know, that’s it,” Kelly said.
David leaves behind three children. Twin six year-old girls and a nine year-old boy.
“My son Liam has Down syndrome. He was with him all day on Saturdays doing sports- taking him to dance. Same thing with my girls. He spent all of his free time with the kids,” Kelly said.
One thing the kids were looking forward to this summer was a repeat of a mini-triathlon dad set up for them on the Cape.
“He had the kids swim across the pool. Then they had to do a one and half mile lap around the neighborhood on a bike. Then they had to run around a baseball field. Everybody won nobody knew their time they finished and they were excited.”
Kelly admits she’s still in complete shock and denial. She wanted to talk because she wanted share this message.
“That life is short, and you need to hug the people that you love. Because they may be gone in the next minute. You can’t take anybody for granted.”
Kelly wanted to thank the first responders who tried to save her husband and wanted to thank the community for rallying around her.
Friends set up a GoFundMe for Kelly and her kids. Nearly $65,000 from more than 650 donors was raised in the first day. The fundraiser is being run by Franklin Elementary School’s Parent-Teacher Organization in West Newton, where the family lives.