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Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy who was shot during the Highland Park, Illinois shooting has returned home after a months-long battle in the hospital.
The child was injured during the Highland Park Independence Day parade shooting that left seven people dead, as well as dozens more injured. A bullet went through Cooper’s upper abdomen and injured his spinal cord, esophagus, and abdominal aorta, according to a previous statement from his parents, Jason and Keely Roberts.
After being put on a ventilator, going through multiple surgeries, and “ongoing daily rehabilitation,” stemming from his injuries, Cooper was able to return home, according to a statement from the family on Thursday.
“We are at a total loss of words to express how filled with gratitude, love and wholeness we now feel given that we are able to finally have Cooper back at home,” the family’s statement reads. “To be able to have Cooper home and our family all reunited together again is such an amazing blessing. He is able to live once again with his twin brother, Luke, and resume being one another’s very best playmates.”
The family said that at one point, they were “desperately and feverishly praying just for Cooper to live.”
A GoFundMe for the family has raised over $2 million as of Thursday.
Cooper has five siblings, one twin brother and four sisters, as well as a dog, and the family says it is “special” for everyone to be reunited once again.
“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. They have held each other up and through so much during what has been the most horrific time in their lives. They have seen, in a way they never had before, just how much they enrich each other’s lives and how deep their love for one another truly is,” the statement reads.
The family also acknowledged in the statement that Cooper has a “heartbreakingly cruel and unfair road ahead.”
“The transition to having Cooper’s extensive medical needs being addressed at home vs. at the hospital or rehabilitation clinic is a gigantic learning curve for all of us. And, now that he is home, Cooper has to deal on a daily basis with the sadness and grief of recognizing all the things he’s lost,” the statement reads.
Cooper will not be able to do many of the things he used to be able to, ranging from sports, playing on the playground, riding on his bike, and also cannot access “much of his own home.”
“Yet, we choose to focus on what we do have. Cooper is alive and home and our sweet and lovely athletic little boy has made up his mind that he is going to figure out new ways to play sports. To steal a lyric from a great country song (thank you, Kacey Musgraves), in a happy-and-sad-all-at-the-same-time moment, Cooper has decided that he is going to find new sports to play,” the statement reads.
According to Cooper’s parents, the 8-year-old has decided to learn wheelchair tennis and has “already been to the tennis courts a couple times.”
Cooper’s parents said that he has inspired them throughout this journey, and said he is “tough as nails yet incredibly tender-hearted.”
“He cares more about others well-being 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 entire world that love really does win in the end,” the parents wrote.
Robert Crimo, 22, was arrested and charged with seven counts of murder, among other charges, following the shooting. There was an hours-long manhunt for Crimo following the shooting.
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
Fox News’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.