Cooper Roberts, the boy paralyzed in the Highland Park shooting one year ago, celebrated his ninth birthday last week and threw the opening pitch at the Cubs-Brewers game.
Keely Roberts, Cooper’s mother, said Cooper and his twin brother Luke celebrated their birthdays last week.
The brothers had just turned eight years old at the time of the mass shooting last July 4 in Highland Park.
“Some of the most painful cruelties that come with surviving often show up in the most ordinary of places. It is almost impossible to not look back on such milestone days and compare—what did we do last year at this time and what are we doing now?” Roberts said.
“This year, those comparisons break my heart– reminding me of how much their lives, our lives have been completely and utterly changed. The decimation of childhood innocence is just gut-wrenching, amidst the other many losses they endure,” Roberts said.
“The closer we have been inching toward the anniversary of the 4th of July mass shooting, the more I feel overwhelming grief for what has been taken from my children,” she added.
On Monday, Cooper was recognized on the field at the Milwaukee Brewers game versus the Chicago Cubs.
Cooper threw the first pitch, which was caught by Cooper’s favorite player — Christian Yelich.
Other survivors of the Highland Park shooting were also recognized during the game.
Cooper, who was eight years old at the time, suffered a gunshot wound that left his spinal cord severed in the Highland Park shooting.
Seven people were killed and dozens of others were shot. Over 80 rounds were fired by the gunman into the parade crowd.
Cooper’s injuries led to him being permanently paralyzed and requiring the use of a wheelchair.
The boy was discharged from the hospital in late July and transferred to Shirley Ryan AbilityLab.
He participated in physical and occupational therapy to help him regain mobility and strength.
Cooper was discharged from the facility and later returned to school in October where he entered the third grade.