Brave 8-Year-Old Boy Paralyzed in Fourth of July Shooting Set to Return to School after Fighting for His Life
After being in a battle for his life, a boy who got shot at a July 4 parade mass shooting will return to school. He still suffers from flashbacks of what happened, but his desire to see his friends has been no small motivation in his physical and occupational therapy journey.
Tragedy can happen anytime, and often, humans have no control over the chaos. Sometimes, it claims lives, and at other times it leaves the victims alive to relive the horror.
But if humans have proven anything over the years, it is that they will not be broken by tragedy, and when the need arises, they will band together to get things done. That team spirit was observed during the mass shooting that occurred on July 4, 2022, and affected several members of a particular family who had moved to a new neighborhood in 2021.
Cooper Roberts had been attending the Fourth of July parade in his town with his twin brother Luke and their parents, Jason and Keely Roberts. It was a joyous day, and nobody had been expecting the tragedy that did to occur.
The parade had been well on its way when the suspected shooter, Robert "Bobby" Crimo III, reportedly climbed onto the roof of a business and opened fire on the teeming crowd.
The attack took the lives of seven people and left at least 38 people, including brave young Cooper, injured. One of the bullets struck Cooper, damaging some of his vital organs.
Cooper's twin, Luke, was also injured. He was hit by shrapnel, but his wounds were not as extensive as his brother's; however, his mother, Keely, said that he now has a heavy burden to carry because of what happened.
According to her, Luke had to do some gruesome things that a boy his age should not have done, including watching them receive first aid that kept them alive as they waited for emergency services.
Besides the twin boys, another injured member of the Roberts family was Keely, their mom, a local school superintendent. She got shot in two different parts of her legs and required orthopedic treatment that is reportedly still ongoing.
In a statement, Keely, a mother of six kids, thanked those who rushed forward to help at the parade and the doctors and nurses who treated her family, especially Cooper, who suffered the most injuries.
Keely also praised the medical staff for preserving the family's morale and helping Cooper remain "the happy, sweet little boy" they all remember him as.
According to Keely, Cooper and his brother are good kids who love everyone around them, and she believes neither of them deserves the tragedy that befell them.
GETTING PAST THE TRAUMA
The shooting has passed, but the effects still linger. The Roberts family, in an update, has said that Cooper and his brother are getting mental health support in the aftermath of the tragic event.
The boys have received private counseling and other forms of mental treatment to stimulate their restorative process, even as they struggle with the emotional and mental trauma of what happened.
Cooper had the worst of it and has reportedly been experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including disruptive flashbacks that often interrupt his sleep.
He continues to receive medical treatment at the University of Chicago Comer Children's Hospital, where doctors continue supervising his recuperation from multiple surgeries.
Fortunately for the Roberts, people have shown their support by funding the GoFundMe created for the family with almost $2 million. The family is now focused on getting ready to care for Cooper after his return home.
They reportedly have to consider options for long-term housing that will suit their large family. The 100-year-old Highland Park home they moved into cannot be renovated to accommodate the home-based therapy Cooper will require for his rehabilitation.
He will have to use a wheelchair, and the family is hard-pressed to get a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to help transport Cooper after he is released from inpatient care. Yet, despite everything, the Roberts remain grateful and humbled by the outpour of prayers and support from the masses.
The Roberts shared the first pictures of Cooper since the parade shooting. He looked happy as he was reunited with the family dog, George.
Cooper has now been relocated to a rehabilitation center called the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. He will continue receiving therapy with the hopes that he can return to his classroom and meet his friends. In a statement made by the spokesperson for Cooper's family, it was revealed that he would be able to return to school only for "half-days."
The other half of his day will see him receiving therapy at the Shirley Ryan facility. In an update, the Cooper family confirmed that the eight-year-old would start third grade alongside his brother in six to 12 weeks. Netizens hope that Cooper, his brother, and his mother all make full recoveries physically and mentally.
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