This is so touching. A 14-year-old from Wisconsin, Jerika Bolen, got to attend prom as her last wish before courageously deciding to end her own life later this summer. Jerika suffers from a painful, fatal disease and hundreds of people came out to support her for her beautiful ‘last dance!’
Jerika Bolen, 14, threw herself an EPIC prom party on July 22 as a last hurrah before ending her life next month. And the celebration had quite the turnout as people came from California, Florida, Indiana, and all points in-between to help the Wisconsin teen celebrate her life.
“It’s so amazing that people want to come for little old me,” Jerika told CBS affiliate WFRV on the day of her lavish party. Jerika’s mom, Jen Bolen, echoed her daughter’s excitement and said, “I know that it makes her feel even more beautiful, and the attention is all that she deserves.”
See, Jerika was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 2 when she was just eight months old. The devastating disease destroys nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle activity, and a lack of movement causes the muscles to waste away. Unfortunately, Jerika has never walked, and she said her pain is a seven on a scale of one to 10 on her BEST days, but mostly she’s at an eight or 9. She can speak and has some movement of her hands, but the disease – and the pain – are only going to get much worse.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 25, 2016
But on July 22, Jerika and her family and friends forgot about the pain and focused instead on celebrating her as an individual — and as an inspiration. “What an amazing young lady,” Appleton Police Chief Todd Thomas said. “She makes you appreciate what you have. She makes you think about using your time wisely. She’s making an impact.”
And with the support of her dotting mother, Jerika decided earlier this summer that, while she can still make her desires known, she will move to hospice center in August, unhook her ventilator, and die. But we’re so glad she got to see her last wish come to life — a special prom party dubbed “J’s Last Dance.” There, the teen took to the dance floor sporting shiny blue hair and sparkling lipstick, which complemented her gorgeous greenish-blue gown. Jerika also wore a tiara and later added a prom queen sash to the ensemble.
Even more touching, Jerika’s first dance of the night went to her mother. Jen took her daughter’s hand as Martina McBride’s “In My Daughter’s Eyes” played over the speakers. And it was at that moment that Jen leaned in close and said, “I hope this is the best night of your life.” And how could it not have been? Our hearts go out to Jerika and her friends and family.
What do you think about this story, HollywoodLifers — do you admire Jerika’s bravery for ending her own life?