Girl recovering from horrific scalp injury smiling, laughing

An 11-year-old girl who was horrifically scalped in a freak carnival ride accident in Nebraska has improved so much that she was all smiles at a surprise public appearance with her mother, according to

Elizabeth Gilreath smiled for the cameras at Nebraska Medicine. The hospital's publicist said that at the last minute she decided to get in a wheelchair and appear with her mom, Virginia Cooksey, at a press conference.

Elizabeth wore a bandage over the top of her head. Her long red hair was caught in a ride's spinning mechanism on May 5, tearing her scalp off. Elizabeth smiled and giggled while her mom updated reporters on her daughter's progress.

Elizabeth says he is eager to go home, but she is scheduled for more surgery and will need more time.