The 11-year-old Nebraska girl who was scalped in a freak accident at a carnival smiled in her first public appearance to discuss her recovery Friday. Elizabeth “Lulu” Gilreath, who has been hospitalized at University of Nebraska Medical Center since the May 5 tragedy, wore a bandage on her head and sat in a wheelchair for the press conference.

“[Elizabeth] joined us at the last minute. It was a complete surprise,” Taylor Wilson, a hospital publicist, told InsideEdition.com. “Ten minutes beforehand, her mom said Elizabeth was up for it.”

Lulu smiled and was upbeat as her mother, Virginia Cooksey, told reporters that doctors are happy with her progress, and that she can see out of both eyes although one has been surgically shut to heal, InsideEdition.com reported.

“Elizabeth is a very tough patient,” Cooksey said.

While Lulu said she was hoping to be released Monday or Tuesday, Cooksey noted in a Facebook post that her daughter has been scheduled for another operation and a release date has not been set.

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“She’s so tired and ready to [go] home,” Cooksey wrote in the post. “I keep telling her [baby] setps and it’s all in (God’s) time.”

The family is planning to sue over the ride, called King’s Crown, which at the carnival run by Thomas d. Thomas Shows.