Girl Losing Part of Her Scalp During a Carnival Ride Accident


Girl Losing Part of Her Scalp During a Carnival Ride Accident

On May 7, 2016, Elizabeth Gilreath, known to her friends and family as Lulu, went to a Cinco de Mayo carnival in Nebraska. While riding the King’s Crown carnival ride, she fell and her long hair got caught in a spinning mechanism. As her mother, Virginia Cooksey, fought to free her, the machine ripped off her hair and part of her scalp. Lulu was hospitalized in critical condition and endured 15 transfusions and multiple skin grafts.



The Nebraska Department of Labor investigated the ride. They found no signs of either negligence or mechanical problems. Cooksey, however, was understandably not satisfied and pointed out that rides in Nebraska only have to be inspected once a year.


Members of her community rallied around LuLu and raised $60,000 for her care. The little girl impressed her mother with her lack of self-pity, leading Cooksey to comment, “Lulu is stronger than me.”




Lulu did express nervousness about returning to school. The accident and subsequent skin grafts have left her looking different, and she worried about her schoolmates’ reactions. Inside Edition helped foot the bill for a trip to a wig shop, where the owner and her mother helped her try on dozens of wigs, and she eventually picked one that resembled her original red hair.

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