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Brave 8-year-old boy paralyzed in 4th of July shooting prepares to return to school after fighting for his life

After fighting for his life, a boy who was shot in a mass shooting during a July 4 parade will return to school. He still suffers from flashbacks of what happened, but his desire to see his friends was no small motivator in his physical and occupational therapy journey.

Tragedy can strike at any time, and often humans have no control over the chaos. Sometimes he takes casualties and other times he leaves the victims alive to relive the horror.

But if humans have proven anything over the years, it’s that they won’t be broken by tragedy, and when the need arises, they’ll come together to make things happen. This team spirit was seen in the July 4, 2022 mass shooting which affected several members of the same family who had moved to a new neighborhood in 2021.

WHAT HAPPENED

Cooper Roberts had attended the July 4 parade in his town with his twin brother Luke and their parents, Jason and Keely Roberts. It was a joyful day and no one expected tragedy to happen.

The parade was well advanced when the suspected shooter, Robert “Bobby” Crimo III, allegedly climbed onto the roof of a business and opened fire on the swarming crowd.

The attack claimed the lives of seven people and injured at least 38, including brave young Cooper. One of the bullets hit 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 he now had a heavy burden to bear because of what had happened.

According to her, Luke must have done horrible things a boy his age shouldn’t have done, including watching them receive first aid that kept them alive while waiting for emergency services.

Besides the twins, another injured member of the Roberts family was Keely, their mother, headmistress of the local school. She was shot in two different parts of her legs and had to undergo orthopedic treatment which is believed to be still ongoing.

In a statement, Keely, a mother of six, thanked those who rushed to help in the parade and the doctors and nurses who treated her family, especially Cooper, who suffered the most injuries.

Keely also praised medical staff for keeping the family’s spirits up and helping Cooper stay “the happy, sweet little boy” they all remember.

According to Keely, Cooper and her brother are good kids who love everyone around them, and she thinks neither of them deserve the tragedy that happened to them.

OVERCOME TRAUMA

The shooting has passed, but the effects still linger. The Roberts family, in an update, said Cooper and his brother are receiving mental health support following the tragic event.

The boys received private counseling and other forms of mental treatment to boost their healing process, even as they struggle with the emotional and mental trauma of what happened.

Cooper had the worst of it and reportedly experienced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, including disruptive flashbacks that often interrupt his sleep.

He continues to receive medical care at the University of Chicago’s Comer Children’s Hospital, where doctors continue to oversee his recovery from multiple surgeries.

Luckily for the Roberts, people showed their support by funding the GoFundMe created for the family with nearly $2 million. The family is now focused on preparing care for Cooper after he returns home.

They should have considered long-term housing options that would suit their large family. The century-old Highland Park home they moved into cannot be renovated to accommodate the home therapy Cooper will need for his rehabilitation.

He will have to use a wheelchair, and the family struggles to get a wheelchair-accessible vehicle to help transport Cooper after he is discharged from hospital care. Yet despite everything, the Roberts remain grateful and humbled by the outpouring of prayers and support from the masses.

The Roberts shared the first photos of Cooper since filming the parade. He seemed happy to be reunited with the family dog, George.

Cooper has now been transferred to a rehabilitation center called Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago. He will continue to attend therapy in hopes of being able to return to his class and meet his friends. In a statement issued by Cooper’s family spokesperson, it was revealed that he would only be able to return to school for “half days”.

The other half of his day will see him receiving therapy at the Shirley Ryan Institution. In an update, the Cooper family confirmed the eight-year-old will start third grade alongside his brother in six to 12 weeks. Netizens hope that Cooper, his brother and his mother make a full recovery physically and mentally.

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