A horrible accident at an amusement park almost killed 11-year-old Lulu Gilreath. She survived, but was left disfigured after a ride ripped off most of her scalp. Three months after she got a surprise, just in time for the first day of school.
Like any kid, Lulu was looking forward to going to the carnival and getting tossed, turned and twisted about on all the rides. Sadly those rides weren't as safe as they should have been and Lulu paid the price.
While riding on the King's Crown with her friends, a ride that rotates and spins at top speed, Lulu's long red hair got caught in a gear. The ride tore almost all of Lulu's scalp off.
The ride couldn't be stopped right away and although the conductor immediately ran for help the ride spun for another 5 minutes while Lulu screamed and bled. She passed out shortly after.
After over 15 blood transfusions, multiple skin grafts and surgery Lulu is on the road to recovery.
Unlike many, Lulu faces her appearance bravely and talks openly about her injury.
"Lulu is stronger than me," said her mother Virginia Cooksey on a Facebook post. "The way she handled it gave me strength."
Lulu became a national inspiration for her resilience. Letters poured in from around the country with statements of support, praise and consolation.
Inside Edition heard her story and planned a special surprise for Lulu, right before she started school.
At Bravadas Wig Designs, Lulu was fitted and matched with wigs of all shapes and sizes. Trying on funky colors and daring cuts - but it was a familiar wig that brought everyone to tears.
Lulu saved her biggest smile for a wig of long red hair.
"I feel like how I used to look," she said looking into the mirror. "I like that."
She was nervous to start school, but I have no doubt she'll have made the most of her year.
You can watch Inside Edition's segment here, but be warned, it's graphic.