Teen dies after ending care for incurable disease

Teen dies after ending care for incurable disease

(WWBT) - A Wisconsin teenager who drew national attention for deciding to end her life instead of continuing a battle with an incurable disease has passed away.

According to a report from NBC Chicago, Jerika Bolen's mother, Jen, told Gannett Wisconsin Media that the 14-year-old died Thursday at Sharon S. Richardson Hospice in Sheboygan Falls.

The teenager suffered from from spinal muscular atrophy type 2, which destroys nerve cells that control voluntary muscle activity. She had never walked and had movement only in her head and hands.

Jerika's decision drew widespread attention and led to a challenge from disability rights organizations who asked child protection officials to stop her from going without her ventilator. Outagamie County officials had declined to comment on the case.

Disabled Parents Rights, along with several other groups, had asked Outagamie County child protection services to step in, the Associated Press reported at the time.

Lucas said Jerika needs intervention, not assistance in ending her life.

"We're talking about a 14-year-old child. It's a difficult time in most people's lives. She has her whole life in front of her. She should be going to college. She should be having a career," Carrie Ann Lucas, executive director of the Windsor, a Colorado-based organization said earlier this month.

In a July interview, Jen Bolen said those critical of Jerika's decision fail to understand the depth of medical intervention it's taken for her to reach her teenage years.

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