APPLETON, Wis. – Jerika Bolen says she is in constant pain.
The 14-year-old suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II, which is a hereditary disease that causes weakness and wasting of the voluntary muscles in the arms and legs. It is also associated with an abnormal or missing gene, which can cause the spinal cord to degenerate and die, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders.
As a result, Bolen can’t use most of her muscles and is always in pain.
Now, this teen has decided to die.
Her mother says they have discussed the decision to die for several years, adding that most people with the incurable disease don’t live as long as she has.
“I knew it was coming, but I also realized that she fought much longer than she would have if it weren’t for her trying to protect me,” Jen Bolen, Jerika’s mother, said.
The family is planning a prom to celebrate Jerika’s life and the public is invited.
In late August, Jerika says she plans to stop using her ventilator as she begins hospice care.