BEACON TRANSCRIPT – Even though she’s only 14, Jerika Bolen already went through 38 surgeries and was obligated to live a life filled with severe physical pain. Now, the terminally ill adolescent scheduled her death date and she declared that the deed made her feel liberated.
Bolen was diagnosed with type II spinal muscular atrophy, a disorder that rarely spares the life of the patient. Most of the individuals that suffer from the terrible illness die in their teen years after battling intense pain and the continuous loss of mobility in all the muscles, including the heart, and respiratory muscles.
Spinal muscular atrophy is a rare neuromuscular condition that is characterized by perpetual muscle wasting and progressive loss of motor neurons. In other words, the patient waits until his or her heart stops beating or the diaphragm is no longer strong enough to help the other weakened respiratory muscles to take a breath of air.
The teen, born and raised in Appleton, Wisconsin, was diagnosed with the condition early in her childhood. Ever since then, she has been in and out of the hospital, enduring no less than 38 invasive surgeries.
When she’s not in the hospital preparing for or recovering from an operation, Jerika spends her time in a hospice where she receives proper care suited for her condition. Even though her family has gone to great lengths to make her as comfortable as possible, Jerika’s pain is so great, that she feels she cannot stand it much longer.
The girl has decided, after lengthy conversations with both her family and her therapist, that she will refuse treatment at the end of August.
Currently, Bolen is in a special wheelchair and depends on a portable oxygen machine. After the summer is over, the girl will give up on using the device that is helping her breathe and wait for the disease to take its course.
As a final wish, Jerika asked for the family to throw her a prom where she could eat all of her favorite sweets, dance, and spend quality moments with her loved ones that will miss her very much.
The teenager is aware of the impact that her decision had on her family. However, she is optimistic, hoping that they will hold on to the happy memories. Even though the terminally ill adolescent scheduled her death at the end of the summer, she is still planning to make a couple of more beautiful memories before the illness finally wins the struggle.
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