APPLETON, Wis. — More than 1,000 people came out to grant Jerika Bolen's final wish: a prom celebration, WTMJ reported.
"It makes my heart explode. It's so crazy that people want to come for little ol' me," Jerika Bolen said at the event on Friday.
The 14-year-old has made the difficult decision to end her life. She has spinal muscular atrophy Type 2. Bolen relies on a wheelchair to get around and spends 12 hours a day on a ventilator.
"I'm always in usually an 8 or 10 — 8 to 10 out of (10) pain," Bolen said.
"I sat myself down and I thought, 'Jerika, am I here for me or am I here for my family? I can't even do anything besides lie in bed because I'm so sore,'" she told the Appleton Post-Crescent. "I have been realizing I'm going to get to walk and not have this pain anymore and not have to, like, live this really crappy life."
After Bolen told her mother her decision, the two cried together.
"We cried and we cried and we cried," Bolen said. "But after a couple days, I was running around so happy. I was like, 'I'm going to be able to walk, I'm going to be with God, I'm going to be free.'"
"(It's) very tough, because we've talked about it before," said Jerika's mother, Jen. "I kind of put it off and tried everything else in the meantime. (But) I said, 'Jerika, I love you that much that I will not let you suffer. Mom will find a way to be OK.'"
Bolen will stop using her ventilator next month, but she wasn't focusing on that at her prom.
"She's feeling very loved, and it's amazing," her childhood friend, Mackenzie Falck, said.
Bolen's Wisconsin community came together to make the prom possible. According WGBA, people donated food, and local police and firefighters gave Bolen's limo an escort to her party.
"I thought it was going to be low-key, but this is really awesome," Bolen said at the prom.
"I know I can't always be happy every day," she told the Post-Crescent. "I still wonder why God picked me to have this disease, and I know I can never know the reason. Maybe because I'm strong, I guess."
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