It’s been close to a year since America was once again forced to grapple with gun violence on a tragically large scale after someone opened fire during an Independence Day parade in Highland Park, Illinois in a mass shooting that claimed the lives of seven people and wounded another 48.
The list of severely injured victims included Cooper Roberts, an elementary school student who’s needed to use a wheelchair after being struck by the bullet that paralyzed him.
Earlier this year, Cooper’s parents discussed the struggles he and the rest of their family have faced as they try to move forward, and they’ve created a GoFundMe in the hopes of generating enough money to support his recovery and renovate their home to make it easier for him to get around.
Cooper’s injury has prevented him from doing many of the activities he enjoyed prior to the tragedy, and while he loves to spend time on the beach in the summer, his wheelchair has served as a bit of a hurdle due to how difficult it is to use it in the sand.
However, that will no longer be an issue courtesy of the Chicago Bears.
On Wednesday, the team invited Cooper and his family to the OTAs that are currently being conducted at Hallas Hall in Lake Forest, and he got a chance to hang out with a number of players after practice wrapped up.
They also had a special surprise waiting for him, as the Bears presented Cooper with a “beach buggy” he’ll be able to use in order to take full advantage of the summer.
Since being paralyzed from the waist down in the Highland Park shooting last year, 8-year-old Cooper has been unable to do his favorite activity: going to the beach
Today at practice, we had a special surprise for him 💙 pic.twitter.com/iTBgMpHjUB
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) June 1, 2023
This isn’t the first time the Bears have gone out of their way to give back to the people impacted by the Highland Park shooting, as they also invited the town’s high school football team to attend a practice last summer.