Little girl scalped by carnival ride sees herself for the first time . . . and smiles

Posted at 6:25 PM, May 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-18 18:25:53-04

OMAHA, Neb. – An 11-year-old Nebraska girl whose scalp was ripped off by a carnival ride saw her reflection on Wednesday for the first time since the accident — and she smiled.

“Lulu is stronger than me,” said her mother, Virginia Cooksey on Facebook. “My baby girl saw herself for the first time today. The way she handle it (gave) me strength.”

Cooksey says her daughter still can’t see out of one eye, and a follow-up surgery is scheduled for Thursday or Friday.

Elizabeth ‘Lulu’ Gilreath was at a Cinco de Mayo Festival when she slipped off her seat on the Kings Crown ride, and her long, red hair was pulled into the machinery.

The ride operator was seen running from the chaos, possibly to get help, once he learned the child was hurt.

“I don’t understand how this man did not notice my daughter laying on the ground,” her mother said after the accident.

A woman who saw what happened to Lulu, ran up the steps to try and physically stop the ride.  Lulu’s family called the woman, who is also a mother, a hero. They are also appreciative of Lulu’s doctors.

Courtesy: GoFundMe page

Courtesy: GoFundMe page

Late Tuesday night, on theGoFundMe page set up to help with expenses, a picture was posted with the following explanation:

“Lulu she is smiling And will be having her surgery on Friday or Saturday so please continue the prayers. Thank you to all who have been praying donating and offering support during this tragic time. We all send love to everyone for taking 5 minutes of their day to show Lulu they are thinking of her.”

So far, about $59,000 of the $75,000 goal has been raised.

“Surgical doctors played a big role and they saved my daughter’s life and I cannot thank them enough,” Cooksy said.

The carnival company was cooperating with the investigation to determine exactly what happened on the ride.

Elizabeth "Lulu" Gilreath before the incident.

Elizabeth “Lulu” Gilreath before the incident.

Elizabeth "Lulu" Gilreath's mother talking about her daughter's injuries.

Elizabeth “Lulu” Gilreath’s mother talking about her daughter’s injuries.