A YEAR after her scalp was ripped from her head in a horrific carnival ride a courageous 12-year-old girl has opened up about the experience.
Elizabeth Gilreath told US NBC: "My scars don't define me. Nobody's scars should define them."
Elizabeth, known as Lulu to friends and family, was rushed to hospital in critical condition after her long red hair became trapped in the machinery of the ride in Omaha, Nebraska.
The accident nearly removed her entire scalp and caused damage to both of her eyes, NBC reported.
Lulu told NBC she lost consciousness following the freak accident and the next thing she remembered was waking up in the hospital with her mother.
"I told her, 'I feel like my head was smushed, Mom.' And she told me what happened," she told local NBC affiliate WOWT.
She spent months undergoing surgery including several skin grafts. She has also had eye surgery and 28 blood transfusions and is set to undergo more surgeries.
Despite her horrific ordeal she has remained positive. Her mum Virginia Cooksey applauded her daughter's inner strength.
"She can get through anything," she said. "It's what keeps me going. It's what keeps me strong."
The youngster said she was happy that her red hair is growing back - at least one side of her scalp.
"I loved my hair. It was extremely rare," she said.
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