Boy, 8, paralyzed in Highland Park shooting back at home

Midwest

FILE – This photo provided by the Roberts family shows Cooper Roberts who along with his twin brother and parents attended the July 4, 2022, parade in Highland Park, Ill. Cooper was struck in the chest in a hail of gunfire that left dozens of others wounded and seven dead, said Tony Loizzi, a family spokesperson. Cooper’s family said he was moved Sunday, July 31, 2022, to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, a rehabilitation-focused hospital, from the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital. The 8-year-old boy has now returned home after 2.5 months in the hospital. (The Roberts Family via AP, File)

(NewsNation) — Cooper Roberts, an 8-year-old boy who was paralyzed from the waist down in the July 4 Highland Park parade shooting, is back home after months of rehabilitation.

“We are at a total loss for words to express how filled with gratitude, love and wholeness we now feel given that we are able to finally have Cooper back at home,” his parents, Jason and Keely Roberts, said in a statement on their GoFundMe page. “To be able to have Cooper home and our family all reunited together again is such an amazing blessing.”

The attack in Highland Park killed seven people and wounded dozens. Among those injured were Cooper’s mother and twin brother, who have since recovered. After surgery at Highland Park Hospital, he was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab.

These stays “kept him separated from his dad, mom, twin brother Luke, his four sisters and his French Bulldog puppy that he loves so much, George,” the GoFundMe said.

Even though he is now with his family at home, Jason and Keely Roberts acknowledged that Cooper still has a number of challenges he will face in the future.

“We know that Cooper continues to face a heartbreakingly cruel and unfair road ahead,” they wrote. “The transition to having Cooper’s extensive medical needs being addressed at home vs. at the hospital or rehabilitation clinic is a gigantic learning curve for all of us.”

At home, Cooper has had to watch with “sadness and grief” all the things he’s lost: playgrounds he cannot play in, sports he cannot participate in, ” a bike in the garage that sits idle, that we used to have to fight him to stop riding each day.”

Chalk written signs dedicated to the seven people killed in Monday’s Fourth of July mass shooting are pictured on a sidewalk at a memorial site, Thursday, July 7, 2022, in Highland Park, Ill. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

“There is no word that we know of that adequately describes the level of pain you feel or that Cooper feels when he sees his bike he can no longer ride or his old soccer jersey,” Jason and Keely Roberts said. “Heartbreaking, agonizing, despair — there is just not a painful enough description.”

There’s even a lot of Cooper’s own home he can no longer access. His parents said they are now worried about renovating their current home or finding a new home.

Through it all, though, Cooper has been “tough as nails yet incredibly tender-hearted,” the Robertses said.

“Please continue to pray for our sweet little boy. … We know he will show the entire world that love really does win in the end,” they wrote.

The Associated Press contributed to this article.

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