Girl, 9, Dies from a Rare Waterborne, Brain-Eating Amoeba
07/15/2014 AT 06:30 PM EDT
In the last couple of weeks alone, she had been in four different bodies of water, her parents told FOX4 in Kansas City, Missouri.
That passion inadvertently led to her death. Yust, of Spring Hill, Kansas, died on July 9 after contracting a rare, waterborne, brain-eating amoeba called Naegleria fowleri that lives in lakes, rivers and hot springs, officials told FOX4.
"It must have been a little boring in heaven the last few weeks," Hally's mother, Jenny Yust, told the news outlet, "so God looked around the Earth and he found the most interesting, dynamic, fantastic person he could and he said, 'Hally, you've gotta come be with me.' "
Over the past 50 years, about 130 Naegleria fowleri infections have been reported, according to CNN. Of those, only three people survived.
"The amoeba goes up through the nose and into the brain," Tiffany Geiger, an investigator with the Johnson City Health Department, said.
"Once it's there, there's really nothing anybody can do," she said.
Her parents, however, don't want their daughter's death to keep people out of the water.
"We want you to know this tragic event is very, very rare and that it is not something to become fearful about," her family said in a statement released after her death.
"We hope you will not live in fear of this rare infection that took our daughter's life," the statement said. "Our family is very active in water sports and will continue to be."
They also plan to honor their daughter's memory with a scholarship they set up in her honor.
"She was smart and beautiful and our angel that we'll dearly miss," her mother told FOX4 News.