APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) – A special prom will take place this Friday in honor of a Wisconsin girl who has made the decision to die.
Jerika Bolen, 14, suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy, or SMA, Type 2. The disease causes constant pain and prevents her from using most of her muscles.
“When pain is too much, it’s too much,” said Jerika, who now has a sense of acceptance that she’s no longer able to move on. “I need to do what’s best for me. It was a really hard decision to make.”
Jerika has been in a wheelchair as long as she can remember. She’s unable to move most of her body with the exception of her hands and parts of her face.
Her mother Jen says the decision to die was something that’s been discussed for several years since most people don’t survive the incurable disease as long as Jerika has.
“I knew it was coming,” Jen said, “but I also realized that she fought much longer than she would have if it weren’t for her trying to protect me.”
Jerika plans to celebrate her life by putting on a prom dress this Friday night for an event at Appleton, Wisonsin’s Grand Meridian.
She wanted a prom because she loves music. The event will take place starting at 7 p.m., and it’s open to the public.
“I don’t have many friends. I couldn’t get out really and do many things because I was in so much pain, and this prom is, well, we call it my last dance,” said Jerika.
Sometime in late August, Jerika will stop using the ventilator she uses right now to breathe as she begins hospice care.