OMAHA, Nebraska-- She's 12-years-old, and a year ago, went through a horrible accident hard to imagine. Elizabeth Gilreath was riding a carnival ride, when her hair and scalp were ripped away.
It was Elizabeth's first carnival ride. She was 11 at the time, smiling, with her red, curly hair blowing in the wind. Then, it happened. Elizabeth's hair got caught on the King's Crown ride at an Omaha fair. The ride's fierce spin ripped her scalp off her head.
Two head surgeries, three skin grafts, one eye surgery, and 28 blood transfusions later, Elizabeth is in stable condition today. That day, however, is still hard to talk about.
Elizabeth reflects about her time in the hospital, saying, "In this bathroom, they forgot to cover the mirror and I saw my head. They had to bring me back up to my room."
One year later, her curls are growing back on one side of her head. But the reality is still hard. "I loved my hair. It was extremely rare," Elizabeth sighs.
The now-12-year-old is proud she can actually pull her hair up into a ponytail. But her fight is far from over. A few weeks ago, she was back in the hospital with another infection.
"Now my entire head is red and I have infammatorys here and here," Elizabeth shows. Since that day, she says she'll never ride another carnival ride. She adds the scars, surgeries, and pain has left her a stronger person.
Elizabeth is back in school now, in sixth grade. Two lawsuits are pending: one against the company that made the ride, and one against the state of Nebraska for negligence.