Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy paralyzed after being shot during the July 4 Highland Park mass shooting, is finally back home after more than two months.
In an update on Thursday, the Roberts family said Cooper is returning to his "new normal." This includes finding new sports to play, and his family says he decided to take up wheelchair tennis. Now reunited with his twin brother Luke, the Roberts family says the two are excited to learn to play the game together.
The two-month journey home was not an easy one. After being shot in his hometown, Cooper underwent a life-saving surgery on July 4. He had in-patient stays at Comer Children's Hospital and Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, which kept him separated from his family and his dog George.
Numerous times Cooper was fully intubated and on a ventilator to breathe and underwent several follow-up surgeries. His family says he had daily rehabilitation for his broken vertebrae, spinal cord injury, and paralysis.
"For all the love that has come back to, there are so many painful reminders of what he has lost," the Roberts family said in an update Thursday. "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...heartbreaking, agonizing, despair–there is just not a painful enough description."
Though the family describes the transition home as filled with new challenges and continued grief, the family says they have gratitude and love.
"To be able to have Cooper home and our family all reunited together again is such an amazing blessing," the Roberts family said. "He is able to live once again with his twin brother, Luke, and resume being one another’s very best playmates. You take for granted how wonderful it is to be able to have all your children together and how important they are to each other until it is taken away. Having our children reunited as a sibling unit and knowing that they can be together whenever they need or want to, is so special to us and to Cooper."
The family thanked everyone who continued to pray for Cooper as he continues on his path of healing.
"Since the very start, Cooper has inspired us," the family said. "He is brave and kind. He is tough as nails yet incredibly tender-hearted. He cares more about others well-being than his own. He loves the world.... 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."