Highland Park, Community

Roberts family grateful for community — and puppy George — in end-of-year update on 8-year-old survivor Cooper

‘Tis the season of miracles, and to the Roberts family, their son Cooper — a survivor of the July 4 mass shooting in Highland Park — certainly is one.

And his mother Keely Roberts hopes his story and recovery can inspire all this season.

“We really do believe in miracles,” she wrote in a Dec. 19 message. “We know that Cooper is already proof that miracles do come true. I promise you, his story is not finished — not by a long shot — and we pray the best is yet to come.”

Keely Roberts included that and much more in the first update on Cooper and his Highland Park family since October.

Cooper’s story has captured hearts across the globe during his recovery. The 8-year-old suffered a gunshot wound to the spine that left him paralyzed from the waist down, and his family has shared regular updates on the entire family’s progress.

In the holiday and end-of-year edition, Keely Roberts writes how grateful she is for the community that has donated more than $2 million and regularly provided Cooper and the Roberts family with letters, cards, well wishes and more.

“Progress and recovery physically and emotionally are slow and difficult. The support and care our family and the boys have received from this community — a community that has been so hurt itself — is unreal,” she writes. “Our religious community, the boys’ school, our Highland Park community and the entire North Shore … you are our family and we love you. You saved our lives.

“We are so incredibly thankful for each and every one of you.”

Keely said that Cooper continues to work through physical therapy and that his “competitive nature” motivates him.

He “wants to win” and is hoping to walk, run and play again, she wrote.

Cooper’s twin brother, Luke, was also at the parade and wounded. While recovered physically, Luke’s struggles are “deep and painful” as well,” she said.

Cooper Roberts with his dog, George.

When in need of support, the boys often look to George, their French bulldog puppy. George was a holiday gift last year and Keely Roberts called him “instrumental” in the recovery process.

“We thought we were just buying the boys their first pet,” she wrote. “What that little pup has meant emotionally to Cooper and Luke, what he has helped them through, is totally indescribable.”

The GoFundMe online fundraiser for the Roberts family is ongoing, and a separate campaign has been set up, with a goal of $2 million, to help the Roberts family with an adaptive home that can accommodate Cooper’s lifelong needs.

Letters, cards, donations and more can be mailed to Keely Roberts’ employer, Zion School District 6, 2800 29th St., Zion, IL 60099.

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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