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Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy shot in the shooting in Highland Park, Illinois, has returned home after a months-long battle in the hospital.
The child was injured in the shooting at the Highland Park Independence Day parade that left seven people dead and dozens more injured. A bullet passed through Cooper’s upper abdomen and injured his spinal cord, esophagus and abdominal aorta, according to an earlier statement from his parents, Jason and Keely Roberts.
After being placed on a ventilator, undergoing multiple surgeries and undergoing “ongoing daily rehabilitation” as a result of his injuries, Cooper was able to return home, according to a family statement on Thursday.
“We have no words at all to express how filled with gratitude, love and wholeness we feel now that we can finally have Cooper back home,” the family said in a statement. “It’s such a great blessing to have Cooper back home and our family back together. He can live with his twin brother Luke and be each other’s very best playmates again.”
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The family said at one point they were “praying desperately and feverishly that Cooper would live.”
A family GoFundMe raised more than $2 million on Thursday.
Cooper has five siblings, a twin brother and four sisters, as well as a dog, and the family says it’s “special” that everyone is reunited.
“It’s so special to us and to Cooper that our kids are reunited as a sibling and know they can be together whenever they need or want it. in their life. They have seen, in a way they have never had before, how much they enrich each other’s lives and how deep their love for each other really is,” the statement read.
The family also acknowledged in the statement that Cooper has a “heartbreakingly cruel and unfair road ahead”.
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“The transition from having Cooper’s extensive medical needs treated at home versus in the hospital or rehab clinic is a huge learning curve for all of us. And now that he’s home, Cooper has to deal daily with the sadness and grief of recognizing all the things that he is lost,” the statement read.
Cooper won’t be able to do many of the things he used to be able to, ranging from sports, playing on the playground, cycling, nor will he have access to “a lot of his own house.”
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“Still, we choose to focus on what we do have. Cooper is alive and at home and our sweet and beautiful athletic little boy has decided that he is going to come up with new ways to exercise. To steal a text from a great country song (thanks, Kacey Musgraves), in a happy and sad-all-at-the- same-time moment, Cooper has decided he’s going to find new sports to play,” the statement read.
According to Cooper’s parents, the 8-year-old has decided to learn wheelchair tennis and has “been to the tennis courts a few times already.”
Cooper’s parents said he inspired them on this journey, saying he is “tough as nails yet incredibly tender at heart.”
“He cares more about the welfare of others than his own. He loves the world… and it is because of the love and prayers you have all sent and continue to send to him that we believe he continues on a path of healing. Please continue to pray for our sweet little boy… we know he will show the whole world that love really wins in the end,” the parents wrote.
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Robert Crimo, 22, was arrested and charged with seven murders, including after the shooting. After the shooting, there was an hour-long manhunt for Crimo.
Stephen Straus, 88; Edwardo Uvaldo, 69; Kevin McCarthy, 37; Katherine Goldstein, 64; Irina McCarthy, 35, Jacki Sundheim, 63; and Nicolas Toledo-Zaragoza, 78, are among those who died in the shooting
Audrey Conklin of UKTN News contributed to this report.