Nebraska Girl Whose Scalp Was Torn off by Carnival Ride Makes First Public Appearance Since Incident: 'It's Going to Be a Long Journey,' Says Mom

"We have our good days and we have our bad days," Elizabeth Gilreath's mother said during a press conference last Friday


The 11-year-old Nebraska girl whose scalp was torn off by a carnival ride last month is in good spirits as she nears her potential hospital release date.

Elizabeth “Lulu” Gilreath appeared alongside her mother Virginia Cooksey during a press conference last Friday, marking her first official appearance since being admitted to Nebraska Medicine following the tragic accident at Omaha’s Cinco de Mayo festival that ripped her long red hair from her head.

“Lulu went through her fifth surgery as of Monday,” Cooksey explained in a video posted by the hospital to Facebook. “She had skin grafts done. They had to graft and they took it from her right leg.”

Cooksey said that Lulu underwent another surgery on Monday, and said doctors would determine whether a skin graft would also need to be done on the front of the girl’s head.

“She can see out of both eyes, out of the left one it’s a little bit blurry and it’s still double vision,” Cooksey said of her daughter’s recovery. “We have our good days and we have our bad days.”

Lulu smiled and giggled throughout the press conference, happily declaring that she could potentially be released on Tuesday.

“She can’t wait to get home,” Cooksey explained, “It’s going to be a long journey.”

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Lulu was riding a spinning amusement ride when her hair got twisted into the gears. The entire ordeal lasted five to 10 minutes before onlookers sprung into action. At the time, the festival’s organizer said that the carnival rides were inspected and determined safe by the company that operated the attraction, Thomas D. Thomas.

Initially, the family thought that Lulu would never be able to see again.

“Her doctor came in yesterday and looked at her head, and he’s really pleased with how well it’s looking,” Cooksey said on Friday.

The pair revealed that generous well-wishers had donated seven bags of clothes, toys, stuffed animals and art supplies.

As Lulu smiled, Cooksey noted, “It’s what keeps me going, it’s what keeps me strong… She’s my strength and she’s a beast, that’s what we tell her all the time.”

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