Cover photo for Jerika Bolen's Obituary
Jerika Bolen Profile Photo
2001 Jerika 2016

Jerika Bolen

December 21, 2001 — September 22, 2016

Jerika Jenae Lynn Bolen, age 14, earned her angel wings on September 22, 2016. She entered the world on December 21, 2001 bringing to her mother and family the greatest of all loves.  Through the years they would experience some of the most difficult times though their bond of love and Jerika's resilience would see them through.

Despite all the challenges she had living with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Jerika remained an old gentle soul who did everything in her power to brighten your day with her radiant smile and loving, feisty spirit. Jerika endured extensive surgeries and conquered many illnesses with the help of the best medical team one could ask for and a mother and family and friends who loved her beyond measure.

Jerika had a love for animals that started at a young age. Beginning with fish and hermit crabs she used her wit to convince her mom into many others over the years including gerbils, rats, birds, guinea pigs, a chinchilla, cats, and dogs.  She was fortunate enough to make many trips over the years to one of her favorite zoos, DeYoung Zoo in Wallace, MI where Buddy always made sure she got a front row seat.

She enjoyed many visits to Grandma and Grampa's up north keeping warm through the cold winters with the wood burning fireplace cooking with Gramma, playing video games with Grampa and singing funny songs and going on treasure hunts around the house with Aunty Bean and her cousin Vince. 

Jerika spent five years living next to her best friend, Avi. One would have never known they weren't sisters as they not only played and giggled together, they cried together and shared moments only true friends experience. Jerika was also very thankful to have her friend from school, Mackenzie, come into her life again to share many sleepovers, YouTube watching and gaming this summer.

Throughout all of Jerika's life we are so thankful for Aunt Marilyn, our rock, who was there through not only all the surgeries, but to take her birthday shopping every year, take mom to dinner, and just there to be a foundation only she could fulfill.

Despite her very limited physical body, Jerika had a mind well beyond her years and heart that knew no measure. She gave to those she knew and those she didn't and will continue to give through a foundation she has already started creating with special SMA mom friend, Lisa Couser, mother to fellow SMA angel, Malik. She taught her mom and those around her we are far stronger than we ever knew. With the help of Jim Collar and Danny Damiani and the Post Crescent crew, she leaves a legacy that taught the world to be thankful for each and every day.

Jerika was preceded in death by many other special SMA warriors, her great grandparents, Donald and Jan Bolen and Elmer Deschaine. Survivors include: her mother Jen and loving dogs, Tupelo and JuJuB, her grandparents, Mike and Sue Bolen, “Aunty Bean”, Lisa Wilson (cousin Vince), Great Grandmother, Betty Deschaine, Jen's aunt Cherie (Uncle Chris) and special cousins Mitchell and Nolan and the many extended family members and friends of Jen and Jerika, her nurses: Angela, Alyssa, Angie, Autumn, Cori, Kelly and Lisa, her Godparents: Marilyn, Lisa, Tony and Bret, special friends Avi and Kenzie and the dozens of others who were touched by her.

Jerika's family would like to thank the many people who crossed our paths and the village who helped her through her earthly journey: her early pediatrician, Dr. Sandra MacArthur (nurse Marcia) Marinette, WI and staff, current pediatrician, Dr. Ed Bayer and staff at St. Elizabeth's Hospital, Appleton, Dr. Mary Schroth, “Dr. Mom”/SMA Specialist and Pediatric Pulmonologist for all of our “extra years”, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mathew Halanski, GI specialist, Dr. Dorota Walkiewicz, and the multitude of staff involved with Jerika's care at American Family Children's Hospital in Madison as well as Kari Stampfli, NP, Palliative Care and staff for all of your tender loving care of Jerika throughout her final years, Lynn Rusy, MD, pain specialist of the Jane B. Petit Pain Clinic in Milwaukee, the many home nurses Jerika has had throughout the years, her MDA family, a group of giving souls who chose to be in her life and the many others affected by neuromuscular disease, Jen's many supportive co-workers, Jerika's county caseworker, Crystal, her counselors she's had over the years including Katie, Denise and most recently, Megan, the many physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech therapists, respiratory therapists, pharmacists, nutritionists, teachers and educational staff, the multitude of other SMA families before us who provided us wisdom from near and far and her very first SMA friend, angel Brianna McDanel, (parents Tammy and Todd McDanel) and the many others who impacted our lives throughout these incredible years we were blessed with Jerika. Thank you to Sue Lamers and staff at the Grand Meridian of Appleton, Alton Olson of Sound Fire DJ, the Appleton Police Department, VIP Limousine, Lisa Grassman of Wedding Perfect, Shanna Garland, Shelby Pascoe, Brittany Bucklin, Amanda Wilz, special guest Ritchie Giese of Social Repose and the unending list of those who helped and attended from near and far to make her prom the best night of her life! A final special thank you to the wonderful staff and beautiful facilities at the Sharon S. Richardson Hospice center in Sheboygan Falls, WI for keeping her and her family peaceful through her final days. To everyone who had been part of our journey, we are eternally grateful and you are not forgotten.

Private services have already been held for Jerika.

The Invisible Cord

My child and I,
by An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.
It's not like the cord
That connects us 'til birth
This cord can't been seen
By any on Earth.

This cord does its work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.
I know that it's there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.
The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can't be destroyed
It can't be denied.
It's stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you're not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.
It pulls at my heart
I am bruised…
I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can't take it away

Until we meet again daughter, “Have fun up there doing all the splits and dance moves you could ever want! Thank you for everything you've ever taught me. Thank you for the best days of my life. I'm so very proud of you!”-Love, your Mama

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Jerika Bolen, please visit our flower store.

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