APPLETON -- A 14-year-old old Appleton teen has made the tough decision to end her life after battling a rare incurable genetic disease.
Jerika Bolen's decision gained national attention when she publicly announced her dream to go to prom one day. Friday evening, her wish was granted with the help of friends, family and complete strangers.
Bolen suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2 which often claims lives before adolescence.
The disease takes a toll on Jerika, who relies on a wheelchair to get around. She also suffers chronic pain.
Friday, Jerika refused to let the disease spoil a night of partying.
“It’s so crazy that people want to come here for little ol’ me,” she said.
More than 1,000 people showed up to celebrate with Jerika, including her Fifth-grade friend, Mackenzie Falck.
"She has such a big heart," she said. "She's feeling very loved and it's amazing."
Community members came together to organize the prom Jerika always dreamed of having.
Jerika currently spends 12 hours a day on a ventilator. Her bones are weak and she says on a scale of 1 to 10, her pain is often measured at an 8.
Her mother, Jen, says it's hard to see her daughter suffer, and has learned to cope with her daughter's decision to remove the ventilator in August.
"I told Jerika I love her so much and that I will not let her suffer," Jen Bolen said. "If it's that bad, then it's okay and I will find a way to be okay."
With the support of her friends and family, Jerika and all her friends hit the dance floor where she got to spend one night being a normal teen!
"I thought this was going to be low key but it's really awesome," Jerika said.