Elizabeth Gilreath, the 11-year-old girl scalped on a carnival ride, just saw herself in a mirror for the first time since the accident. In spite of the many stitches, swollen eye, and missing hair, the girl, nicknamed Lulu, still managed to smile when she saw her reflection in the mirror.
On May 7, Elizabeth Gilreath was riding the King’s Crown carnival ride at an Omaha area Cinco de Mayo festival when she slid on the seat and her hair became tangled in the amusement’s mechanisms. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, after she was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, doctors feared she would never be able to see again. Her scalp was torn away from her eyelids during the horrific accident.
“They are really amazed by the progress she has done. Lulu is stronger than me,” her mother, Virginia Cooksey, said. “My baby girl saw herself for the first time today. The way she [handled] it [gave] me strength.”
— Chris (@Chris_1791) May 19, 2016
Lulu has been amazing both doctors and loved ones with her progress since being scalped on the carnival ride. Gilreath can now see out of her right eye, the Daily Mail reports. Her left eye remains swollen shut, but she can communicate with her family now that her breathing tube has been removed.
Although her progress has been deemed astounding, Elizabeth Gilreath still has a long road ahead of her. To date, she has undergone 15 blood transfusions and had multiple surgeries, the New York Daily News reports. Before the end of the week, Lulu will have another surgery to remove part of her scalp.
To bolster her daughter’s spirit and in a show of solidarity, Virginia Cooksey cut her hair very short and had the word “Lulu” engraved in her short and recently shaved hair. Elizabeth’s three sisters also cut their hair short to join in their mother’s effort to comfort the severely injured 11-year-old girl.
The GoFundMe page created to help pay Gilreath’s hospital bills has now reportedly raised $60,000 to help with medical expenses. An investigation into the King’s Crown carnival ride at the Cinco de Mayo festival remains ongoing. The Nebraska Department of Labor is reviewing the amusement ride, checking for malfunctions in mechanics and the seat belt. A recent release from the state agency said they have not yet found any malfunction in the carnival ride or an indication the amusement operator was not alert and aware while in control of the device.
Elizabeth Gilreath’s mom says “Lulu” making great progress https://t.co/kCClQDfzlM
— Omaha Daily (@OmahaDaily) May 14, 2016
Virginia Cooksey is upset about the existing carnival ride inspection laws in Nebraska. Current statutes require only annual safety checks.
“Our whole goal is to raise awareness for better safety laws and better rules and regulations for not only my children but for other children,” Elizabeth Gilreath’s mother said during a press conference.
Witnesses to the Cinco de Mayo carnival ride accident have stated the King’s Crown had just begun spinning when Lulu’s curly hair was caught in part of the ride. The 11-year-old girl reportedly began screaming out in pain as she was scalped. She passed out just moments after the operator stopped the ride, and a bystander reportedly tugged on the carriage she was in to prevent it from continuing to spin.
— Chinh Doan (@ChinhDoan) May 13, 2016
Do you think carnival rides both at major amusement parks and traveling festivals should undergo more stringent safety inspections and operator training?
[Image by Shutterstock.com]