At 14-years-old, and suffering from a painful degenerative illness, Jerika Bolen has made the huge decision to end her life.
Diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy type 2, US teenager Bolen will enter hospice care in August, where she will be unhooked her from her ventilator.
Spinal muscular atrophy type 2 destroys nerve cells in the brain stem and spinal cord that control voluntary muscle movement. That lack of movement causes the muscles to deteriorate further. Bolen has never been able to walk, but can speak and move her hands. However, the constant pain she lives with (which she rates as seven out of 10 on her best days) will only going to get worse.
But before bidding the world farewell, Bolen’s family and friends threw her a prom in similar style to what she'd experience if she was able to attend high school.
The prom, titled ‘J’s Last Dance’, was held in the Grand Meridian ballroom, in her hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin last Friday. Over 1,000 guest were reported to be in attendance, including YouTube star Richie Giese. Her favourite boy band New District also sent through a video message, while flowers and gifts were send through from around the world.
“It’s awesome,” Bolen told USA Today. “It’s fun. It’s a lot of people, and they look up to me. It’s kind of scary because I don’t know what they’re looking up to me for.”
Bolen was dressed in a turquoise green gown for her prom with similar coloured streaks running through her hair and complimenting green lipstick. She also wore a tiara and ‘prom queen’ sash.
The hall was decorated in green and black, Bolen’s favourite colours, and stocked with a candy buffet. A red carpet was also set out the front for attendees, which she and her closest friends graced once stepping out of their motorcade escort of 17 cars and a siren-sounding fire truck.
To pay for the prom, Bolen’s family set up a GoFundMe page with hopes of raising USD$25,000 (about AUD$33,400). They have received over USD$33,000 (about AUD$44,100) in crowd funding so far.
Check out more pictures from Jerika Bolen’s prom below.