CHICAGO (CBS) — Mekhi McGruder was shot in the chest at a baby shower in Chicago in April.
The 8-year-old now needs a wheelchair to get around.READ MORE: Video Of Gruesome Humboldt Park Shooting From CPD POD Camera Was Made Public Without City's Permission, CBS 2 Has Learned
But he says he is determined to walk again.
Trying to find your footing in life is hardly ever easy, but it’s gotten more difficult for Makhi.
For more than three weeks he and his mom have been at the Shirley Ryan Ability Lab working hard to regain a sense of normalcy after his near death experience.
“I was getting ready to go in, and then that’s when the people came,” Mekhi says.
A red Chevrolet Equinox approached a crowd of kids playing outside during a baby shower on 63rd and Seeley in Chicago’s West Englewood neighborhood.
“And they started shooting, and I got hit by the first one,” Mekhi says.
He was the youngest of six people shot on April 7.
“We got there about 5:40, and he was shot at 6:18,” Mekhi’s mother Miranda Randle-McGruder says. “We weren’t even there an hour.”READ MORE: LIVE UPDATES: 130 Homes Damaged In Tornado In West, Southwest Suburbs As Dangerous Storms Hit Chicago Area Sunday Night
Now Mekhi will spend the next year in therapy, three hours a day every day.
“Coming in he had no feeling from the belly button down,” Randle McGruder says.
His lower half is paralyzed, but his heart is still in it.
Mekhi is now able to wiggle his toes after only a few weeks of rehab.
“He’s surpassing what they thought he was going to do coming in,” says his mother.
As detectives search for the shooter, the 8-year-old is not letting what happened hamper his outlook on life.
“Because a lot of people are sad for me, and I tell them, ‘Don’t be sad because I’m going to walk again.'”
Mekhi is slated to go home in two weeks, but he will still be doing outpatient therapy.MORE NEWS: With Areas Of Naperville Devastated By Tornado, Neighbors Band Together A Night Later To Help Each Other
A fundraiser has been started to help cover medical costs for Mekhi.