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8-year-old Cooper Roberts, paralyzed in Highland Park mass shooting, making "up and down" progress in recovery

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CHICAGO (CBS) -- Nearly three weeks after he was shot and paralyzed during the mass shooting at the July 4th parade in Highland Park, 8-year-old Cooper Roberts remains in critical condition, as his family says he is making "up and down" progress in his recovery.

"The family continues to be very grateful for and humbled by the outpouring of support and well wishes – including a special care package from the Milwaukee Brewers, Cooper's favorite baseball team, which included a jersey with his name on it that really lifted his spirits. They ask for continued prayers for Cooper's healing," family spokesman Anthony Loizzi said in an email.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

Cooper remains in the pediatric intensive care unit at University of Chicago's Comer Children's Hospital, where a recent CT scan revealed an abscess in his pelvis, according to Loizzi.

Likely due to that infection, his spiking fever has returned on and off, and his doctors are determining the best approach to how to drain the abscess.

While Cooper's condition briefly improved from critical to serious on Thursday, Loizzi said he was back in critical condition on Friday due to the abscess.

The good news is Cooper was able to take some liquids by mouth on Thursday, as his torn esophagus continues to heal from previous surgeries, and he was able to have an orange popsicle. He also was able to go outside on Thursday for the first time since the shooting.

Cooper Roberts Roberts Family

Cooper's mother - Dr. Keely Roberts, the superintendent for Zion Elementary School District 6 – was also shot and wounded in the parade shooting. Cooper's twin brother, Luke, was injured by shrapnel.   

We are also told doctors couldn't remove all of the shrapnel Luke's body. But Luke has been released from the hospital and is recuperating at home. 

Their mom, Dr. Roberts, was seriously injured - shot twice in the foot and leg area. She has had several surgeries, but the family spokesperson said when she learned her son's spinal cord was severed last week, she demanded to be released from the hospital where she was being treated so she could be at his side.

"After she received her second surgery, and then she received news that Cooper's spinal cord had been severed, she told her doctors and nurses that they should either discharge her, or she'd walk out on her own," Loizzi said.

Dr. Roberts may still need more surgeries.

Cooper and Luke Roberts Roberts family

Dr. Roberts' husband, Jason, was at the parade but was not injured. Cooper's and Luke's four adult sisters – Payton, Ella, Grace, and Emily – did not attend the parade.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with expenses. It's help they'll need for months moving forward. It has raised more than $1.6 million so far.

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