By Brad Edwards

(CBS) – A 16-year-old cheerleader from Lombard has died while on vacation in Pennsylvania.

Making it worse, the parents of Lija Hyssong don’t know why she died, only that a sudden illness took her life.

CBS 2’s Brad Edwards reports.

Lija Angela Yu Yin Hyssong was abandoned in China in 1998 as an infant. Eighteen months later, she was adopted by a loving couple from west suburban Chicago.

She grew to become a cheerleader, and worked hard at it.

She spent this summer in part on a mission, one in Chicago, mentoring inner-city youth.

While visiting the famed Hershey amusement park in Pennsylvania, she was reuniting with a group of adoptive families and texted dad, “Having an awesome time.”

But then she fell ill, with stomach flu-like symptoms. A day later, she went into full cardiac arrest. The family flew in, and held vigil at her bedside for 36 hours.

“Her little body just couldn’t respond any longer so we knew it was time to let her go — let her go to heaven,” father Phil Hyssong says.

“This is probably the most horrible experience that any parent would have to deal with, but we felt a strange peace as Christian people,” he says. “We were honored to be her parents.”

They don’t know yet why, even after initial autopsy results.

They choose not to ruminate on that.

The family will have services in the coming days. It could take weeks to find out why, but they’re not focusing on the “what if’s.” She’ll be laid to rest Saturday.



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