Jerika Bolen is a 14-year-old girl with a terminal disease. The Appleton teen went to her “last dance” prom party on Friday night.
Jerika was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 when she was only eight months old. Since then she has been mostly immobile, using a power wheelchair, a ventilator to help her breathe for 12 hours each day, and has undergone more than 30 surgeries, her muscles have further got worse after each procedure. She has always been under the care of nurses.
Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 is a terminal genetic disease which is often fatal for adolescents.
Jerika has suffered from chronic pain since she can remember- a seven on a scale of one to 10 on her best days. Doctors say the pain will only get worse.
Every treatment Jerika has undergone has caused o her incredible pain. After her last dolorous treatment, Jerika realized she cannot stand more pain, and she decided to end her life once summer finishes.
Last week, during an interview for the Appleton Post-Crescent, Jerika said that at the end of August, rather than enduring another surgery, she has instructed her mother to pull the plug on her ventilator and leave her to die.
“I do not want to live with this terrible pain. When I decided, I felt extremely happy and sad at the same time. There were a lot of tears, but then I realized I’m going to be in a better place, and I’m not going to be in this terrible pain. I’ve been working on it and thinking about it for way longer than anyone else has,” said Jerika.
Once Jerika decided to stop fighting her illness, her mom, Jen Boler, promised to make the remaining days the best days for her. Jerika’s mother is focused on spending the summer fulfilling her daughter’s final wishes. The 14-year-old teen let her family know that her last wishes include fireworks with her grandparents, trips to the movies and sleepovers with friends.
In late August, Jerika will be disconnected from the fan that keeps her alive. Her doctors have said it is impossible to determine how much time she will live without the ventilator. Despite the hard life she has had, Jerika is convinced that her decision is the best option for her.
The ‘last dance’ prom for Jerika
Relatives and friends decided to prepare a special prom for Jerika, which has been called “the last dance” as part of one of her final wishes.
The party gathered relatives and her few of friends at the Grand Meridian on Friday night to celebrate Jerika Bolen’s life.
After receiving an escort from 17 Appleton police squad cars and a fire truck and wearing a blue-green dress, Jerika arrived at the venue.
The first dance honors were addressed to Jerika’s mother with Martina McBride’s song, “In My Daughter’s Eyes”.
It has been reported that Jerika has received bouquets of flowers, letters, cards and gifts from different states of the country.
Source: The Cubic Lane