One little girl had a true fairytale-like moment yesterday when Princess Elsa surprised her in her hospital room.
Emilie Saltzman, 7, suffered a traumatic brain injury despite wearing a helmet after falling off a horse on Oct. 14.
“The horse got spooked and she lost control of the reins and leaned forward which makes the horse go faster and she fell,” Emilie’s father, Jeremy Saltzman, of Hopewell Junction, New York, told ABC News.
After the accident, Emilie was airlifted to Westchester Medical Center. Three and a half weeks later she was transferred to Blythedale Children's Hospital where she’s making remarkable progress.
“Her recovery has been amazing. She’s doing really well,” said Saltzman. “She’s not 100 percent out of the woods yet but she’s in great shape. A lot of her doctors say she’s about a month ahead of schedule. She didn’t talk for about five weeks and then one day she just talked and it was like a faucet that turned on.”
Emilie put her newly regained voice to good use yesterday when she was given the full-blown princess treatment, wearing a tiara to be the official “princess for the day” while singing “Let It Go” with her favorite “Frozen” character, Elsa.
“As far as the whole princess world goes, Elsa is her favorite,” Jeremy said.
The royal surprise was arranged by one of the Saltzman’s family friends, Lissete Bongiovanni,and it couldn’t have possibly put a bigger smile on young Emilie’s face.
“She freaked. She was so happy,” Samantha Catalano, who played Elsa, recalled. “She had the whole outfit on. I brought her a crown and gave her a certificate for ‘princess for the day.’ It was a beautiful day.”
One-on-one work with children is Catalano’s favorite activity in her princess-impersonating role.
“I do birthday parties and big fundraisers but during the week I do home visits and hospital visits,” the Staten Island native explained. “They’re my favorite. It’s more personal. It’s the best experience in the world. It’s amazing.”
It was a pretty amazing day for Emilie, too.
“She’s been talking about it nonstop,” Saltzman said of his daughter’s unexpected visitor. “She’s wearing the tiara right now.”
There is no timeline for when Emilie will be released from the hospital, but Saltzman said his daughter, whose nickname is “perpetual motion,” is strong enough to get through this.
“She’s a fighter. If she wasn’t as such fighter, we’d be in a different situation,” he said.
The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of ABC News.