Community comes together to throw a prom for this terminally-ill teen, and what a prom it was
Jerika Bolen is only 14-years-old, but she’s had to deal with so much more than most teenagers. Jerika has been battling spinal muscular atrophy type 2, an extremely painful and ultimately terminal illness, since she was just 8 months old. She recently made the heartbreaking decision to move to hospice care, which means she doesn’t have much time left.
But before that happens, she had one request, an experience most of us take for granted: she wanted to go to prom.
Her family, friends and local community in Appleton, Wisconsin banded together with strangers all over the country to make sure Jerika got her wish. Thanks to a GoFundMe page, over $35,000 was raised to support Jerika’s family and put on the prom of Jerika’s dreams.
And what a prom it was.
The event, called J’s Last Dance, took place on Saturday, and hundreds of people danced the night away with Jerika, who wore a gorgeous blue prom dress and a sash that read “Prom Queen.” Her limo was escorted to the dance by 17 squad cars and a firetruck from the local police and fire departments.
But Jerika’s favorite part of the night? Being surprised by her favorite YouTube star Richie Giese AKA Social Repose.
Richie flew in from DC to share a dance with Jerika. “I thought, ‘Let’s just go all the way. I might as well make her day,'” Richie told the local paper about his decision to make the trip.
We’re so glad Jerika got to experience prom in such a loving, supportive atmosphere and grateful to everyone who helped make it happen.