OLATHE, Kan. -- She loved life. That's how Hally Yust’s dad, Shon Yust, described her just before her funeral began Monday. Hally is the nine-year old girl who died as a result of a rare infection caused by an amoeba that entered her brain last Wednesday.
A large sanctuary was awaiting a large crowd on Monday. One church member at Life Church of Olathe said the family asked to hold Hally’s memorial service there because the number of attendees would be too large for their own house of worship.
Crowds started showing up for visitation around 1 p.m. to say one last goodbye to a girl known as "Hally-Bug."
It's a day of untold grief for Shon and his family. The church in Olathe was where family said their final goodbyes to Hally --five days after her life ended. Her father says he'll remember her passion for making people happy.
“There were times you'd look at her and say, 'Hally, what are you doing?' And you'd just look at her and smile and walk away and say, 'that's her spirit,'” Shon said.
Hally contracted a rare infection that spread after a water-borne amoeba entered her brain. Hally was an avid water-skier, and her family showed their love for that passion with their matching t-shirts -- all bearing the marks of her water skiing club.
“This has been such an overwhelming experience,” Shon said.
Shon and his family say they'll remember Hally's passion for sports, especially basketball, as the catalyst that carried her through her nine years.
“There's many nights she'd go out and just shoot hoops by herself. A lot of times, the rest of us would be doing something else,” Parker Yust said.
“She loved it so much, and she was so passionate about everything she did. She was her best friend,” said Macy Yust.
On Monday, Hally’s family announced the start of the Hally Yust Women's Basketball Scholarship at Kansas State University. Newly hired Wildcats’ coach Jeff Mittie showed up with his personal item of support, a jersey bearing her nickname, meant to keep the spirit of Hally's smile alive.
“I want to present this. This will be the only one in the country that has 'Hally Bug’ on it,” Mittie said.
Shon said the family has heard from thousands of people since their daughter's passing. He said he respected that Hally’s service was labeled "a celebration" -- but he's still coping with the loss.
Those who wish to contribute to the scholarship fund are asked to send donations to:
The Hally “Bug” Yust K-State Women’s Basketball Scholarship, Ahearn Fund, 1800 College Ave., Suite 138, Manhattan, Kansas 66502