"My scars don't define me."
You’ve heard the urban legend: A girl with long hair is enjoying herself at a theme park when her hair gets caught in a ride…
It’s terrifying and probably makes your skin crawl, but this tale is more than just a warning from parents. Just last year we saw 11-year-old Elizabeth Gilreath suffer such a devastating incident at a carnival in Nebraska. Now, after months of surgery, 28 blood transfusions, and one year of recovery, Elizabeth is ready to tell her story.
Before the Accident
Elizabeth “Lulu” Gilreath loved her red hair for its unique quality. But her hair is what was pulled into the mechanics of the ride and what led to her being scalped at age 11. The incident took place at a Cinco de Mayo festival in Omaha, Nebraska where Elizabeth was simply looking for childhood fun.
The Devastating Incident
It was her very first carnival ride, and it went unimaginably wrong. Her scalp was ripped from her head when her hair was caught on a “King’s Crown” ride, where riders are seated inside large spinning platform.
Immediately following the incident, she was also temporarily blinded in one eye, and for a time there was a possibility that she wouldn’t regain her sight.
Early on during her treatment, the attendants in the hospital forgot to cover a mirror, and Lulu was startled to see her own image.
Elizabeth was pulled back from the brink of death after extreme medical intervention. She received 28 blood transfusions and elaborate surgeries in order to save her life and her eyesight. The surgeries included three surgeries on her head, a skin graft, and multiple eye surgeries.