A few weeks back, the family had shared that Cooper Roberts was feeling 'hopeless' and his mental health was negatively affected as reality set in.
After undergoing several surgeries, an 8-year-old boy who was left paralyzed in the Fourth of July parade mass shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, is recovering rapidly. His family has said he no longer requires a feeding tube and IV pain medicine, reports CNN.
Cooper Roberts was paralyzed from the waist down after being shot in Highland Park. His injuries included a severed spinal cord and a partially collapsed lung. He had a painful recovery that included heavy painkillers and intense pain from his slow-healing wounds. However, his family is now witnessing a ray of hope due to recent positive changes in Cooper's health.
Spare a thought for Cooper Roberts, paralyzed in the July 4th Highland Park attack. A once active 8-year-old now in constant pain, and the emotional toll is just as heavy.— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) August 17, 2022
"It is very hard to convince Cooper that he will be happy again." Heartbreaking. https://t.co/9pPGqRrEMz
The family has been sharing about Cooper's recovery journey in a GoFundMe that was set up to raise funds for his treatment. In a recent update, they said that he "can now eat the foods he’s been craving, like Lay’s dill pickle chips, Cheetos, Chick-fil-A, McDonald’s, and extra Cheddar flavor-blasted Goldfish." Sharing a video of Cooper participating in a wheelchair race in the hospital's hallway with his therapist, they said, "Removing all the tubes has been a huge mood booster for Cooper, to be able to eat some of his favorite foods and to start maneuvering his wheelchair better without the tubes getting in his way and causing him pain."
Cooper and his family were among the scores of parade goers who were injured when a shooter opened fire from a rooftop onto the gathering below. The attack claimed the lives of seven people. Robert E. Crimo III, the man accused of the shooting, has pleaded not guilty to 21 counts of first-degree murder, 48 counts of attempted murder and 48 counts of aggravated battery, reports NPR.
This little boy who was shot and paralyzed at the Highland Park shooting on the 4th of July and his family and his Frenchie bestie need all our help. And there is good news…https://t.co/78rR2AhIA2— Brooke Hammerling (@brooke) August 24, 2022
In a previous update, the family had shared that Cooper was in "constant pain" stating that he was feeling "hopeless, sad and angry as the reality of his life is setting in." They wrote that as Cooper became more and more aware of his condition, it was getting "hard to convince Cooper that he will be happy again." His mental health was also affected because he wasn't able to meet his entire family due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But this week he was able to spend some quality time with his twin brother Luke who he misses. Cooper was also visited by former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Ryan Shazier, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury in 2017. Cooper's family said, "Ryan was transparent, authentic, genuine and gracious in sharing insights with us about his path to recovery."
Gun violence is not only about those who are killed. It is also about those who survive & will live with it for the rest of their lives. Cooper Roberts is one of those people. This is a devastating story that should drive everyone who reads it to VOTE!!https://t.co/fZ07zV0bWw— Fred Guttenberg (@fred_guttenberg) August 18, 2022
The victims of the shooting and people present at the site are still struggling to cope with shock and trauma, according to The Washington Post. The family said that medical professionals are still unsure if Cooper's mobility will completely return and if some limitations will be with him for the rest of his life. They said, "We do know that we are infinitely grateful for his survival, and for the many kindnesses we continue to receive, including from all who are working to help Cooper and others impacted heal from this nightmare."
The family had previously expressed the grief that they are undergoing after the incident. They wrote in an update: "There are layers upon layers of cruelty with being shot by a sniper. Most people don’t witness the grueling aftermath of surviving these devastating wounds, physical and emotional."
Following the incident, the Highland Park City Council voted unanimously to prohibit all semiautomatic firearms, high-capacity magazines and body armor. After receiving more than 1,000 emails in opposition, a plan for a gun shop and indoor shooting range in adjacent Long Grove, Illinois, was dropped. Shelley Firestone, a psychiatrist from Highland Park, has started holding free counseling sessions in a nearby park for the victims. The community is doing everything it can to support each other and recover from a traumatic event that altered many lives.
My heart breaks for all the survivors of the Highland Park parade mass shooting. You don’t need a bullet to go through your body to be traumatized. Their Main Street became a war zone & too many are suffering from PTSD. https://t.co/ixpPVZXaC8 #BanAssaultWeapons #EndGunViolence— Po Murray (@po_murray) August 23, 2022