HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. — Cooper Roberts, the 8-year-old boy paralyzed in the Highland Park mass shooting, can ride again thanks to a gift from a local nonprofit.
“It gives me faith in humanity,” said Project Mobility executive director Hal Honeyman, who called the moment emotional for several reasons.
Project Mobility, based in St. Charles, said they were inspired to help Cooper after learning about his ongoing struggles upon returning home. Through fundraising efforts, the organization presented Cooper with a new adaptive bike, a “handcycle,” which maneuvers with the use of arms.
“The look of joy on his face and the family, we see that a lot,” Honeyman said. “We’re fortunate to be able to do that but this was more meaningful because of just the sheer impact it made on their lives.”
Honeyman adds that Cooper had a demo bike while the team worked to get him his custom handcycle.
“I took one of our handcycles, brought it to the house and we left the bike behind,” he said.
As the new year rolled in, so did Cooper’s new adaptive bike.
“To see the smile, the sheer look in their eyes, it never gets old,” Honeyman said. “It doesn’t.”
The Roberts family issued an update on the six-month anniversary of the Highland Park tragedy, sharing that Cooper was going to school a bit more and participating in physical education and recess. Though Cooper is still in pain at times, the family remains in high spirits and thanked supporters.
“We wouldn’t be here at all without the many kindnesses we have received,” said Cooper’s mother, Keely Roberts, who also suffered gunshot wounds in the tragedy.
The family also has an existing GoFundMe page which has raised more than $2 million. A second GoFundMe created by friends of the Roberts family supports a new, ADA-accessible home for Cooper and his loved ones.
Honeyman said that Project Mobility would host a number of bike rides this summer and hoped that the Roberts family would attend.