Girl, 14, With Spinal Muscular Atrophy Decides to End Her Life: 'This Is Enough Pain'
This Wisconsin teen suffering from a painful and incurable disease has made a truly heartbreaking conclusion about her treatment. She wants to end her pain, deciding she is ready to die.
Jerika Bolen, 14, suffers from spinal muscular atrophy type two.The genetic disease affects the nerves that control the body's muscle movement, causing most of her physical strengh to disappear when she was a baby.
Jerika is now confined to an electric wheelchair. Her hands work and she continues to have control over most of her face, but she has trouble breathing and swallowing on her own.
Jerika has undergone more than 30 surgeries, including a spinal fusion, to help ease the pain, her mom said in an interview with KENS5.
Despite the comforts provided for her, Jerika said she is constantly in pain, and the pain is expected to only get worse as she gets older.
"I realized, 'Jerika, what is your quality of life right now?'" the teen asked herself. "You do homework, you lay on the couch. You get up and do homework, you lay on the couch because you're so sore. That's not a quality of life."
That's why she came to the decision to end her life at the end of summer, surrounded by her closest friends and family.
"This is enough pain. I don't need this anymore," Jerika said, according to KENS5. "It will hurt my family, but they eventually will be okay,"
Her mom, Jen Bolen, told InsideEdition.com that the decision has not come lightly.
She and Jerika have been discussing ending her life on and off for the last three years, until a new counselor helped her come to her ultimate decision in June.
"We cried the entire hour session and discussed things further that night," Bolen told InsideEdition.com. "I was not angry because I know the pain she is in."
Despite being adament advocates of continuing treatments, Bolen said, despite different procedures and medication to make her more comfortable, Jerika's condition is only worsening.
"After all she has been through, I owe this to her," her mother said.
The girl has now been transferred to hospice care, and has plans to turn off her ventilator toward the end of August, even though her mom said, "she tells me every day she is ready now."
One thing she said she wants before she goes, however, is to go to prom.
Next Friday, her mom told InsideEdition.com that classmates, friends from the Muscular Dystropyhy Association summer camp and other members of the community are welcome to come to the big night, but her special guest will be a close friend she plans to bring as a date.
Otherwise, Jerika spends most of her days enjoying her final moments, and saying her goodbyes.
"She actually wants to go to Chicago to see her dad. He hasn't really been involved, but she said she needs this peace before she goes," Bolen said. "He doesn't want to believe it."
Most importantly, the teen said she wants to make sure her mom will move on with her life after she dies.
"I want people to make sure she's eating and sleeping good," she said in an interview with KENS5. "She always says I am what she lives for. I don't want her to not be taken care of."