Mental anguish taking its toll on boy paralyzed in Highland Park, family says


‘Yet, every kindness makes him smile,’ say loved ones

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — The slow road to recovery is impacting the mental well-being of Cooper Roberts, the youngest surviving victim of the Highland Park parade shooting, his family said in an update Tuesday.

Cooper was left paralyzed following the July 4 tragedy. The statement says he is currently feeling “hopeless, sad and angry as the reality of his life sets in.”

The update adds that loved ones are having difficulty convincing Cooper that he will be happy again, revealing that the boy recognizes the severity of his limitations while participating in daily physical and occupational therapy sessions.

Family visitation is also limited due to ongoing COVID protocols, the statement says, causing Cooper to desperately miss his twin brother Luke, injured by shrapnel in the July 4 shooting.

Though the 8-year-old remains in constant pain at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab, loved ones say ‘every kindness makes him smile,’ as Cooper and family members remain appreciative of the outpouring of support.

“We are so grateful for the gifts, cards, prayers and donations that will help carry us all through this very bleak period,” the statement read.

The 8-year-old suffered a severed spinal cord, among other injuries, at the city’s Independence Day parade on July 4. Seven people died and dozens more were injured in the tragedy. Following an hours-long search, authorities apprehended the alleged gunman, now facing seven counts of murder, among other charges.

A GoFundMe fundraiser created for Cooper has raised nearly $1.8 million as of Tuesday evening.

Last week, State Senator Julie Morrison announced that she is collecting cards in a show of support for the boy’s family. Anyone interested can send cards to the following address:

43 Highwood Avenue
Highwood, Illinois 60040

Drop-offs are also welcome.

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