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Helping family battle cancer

Shane Jones had to quit playing baseball on the Ironton Little League field.

Friday, August 13, 1999

Shane Jones had to quit playing baseball on the Ironton Little League field. The 10-year-old Ironton resident was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 4, but has been in remission for the past five years.

Now the cancer is back and Shane will have to undergo a bone marrow transplant Oct. 1 at Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

Although Shane might not be feeling well right now, he does have a reason to smile – he has many friends who care about him.

And he’s about to find out he has more than he ever thought possible.

A Charity Carnival benefiting Shane and his parents Shawn and Patty Jones will begin at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Ironton Little League Field, said Kim Holtzapfel, event co-organizer.

"A group of citizens from Ironton all got together to have a fundraiser for him to help defray the expenses," Mrs. Holtzapfel said. "He’ll have to be in isolation for at least 45 days after the transplant and his parents will have to stay in Columbus. We were concerned and we like to help people. This is our hometown and I think we should help people who have problems."

And what better way than through a community celebration, Mrs. Holtzapfel said.

"We will have games for kids," she said. "The Moose Softball League will play Ironton baseball coaches at 6 p.m. WLGC will do a live remote from 6 to 8 p.m. and, if the weather permits, the mayor will bring his hot air balloon and dunking machine."

Door prizes also will be raffled off and given away, Mrs. Holtzapfel added.

"We went to the area businesses and asked if they would like to help with the carnival," she said. "And they have been very, very generous. Nobody has turned us down. They have been very generous about helping us out. We’ve raised a lot of money and had a lot of gifts given to us so we could have a little raffle."

Big Sandy has donated a 20-inch television and Tipton’s Foodland has donated a $100 gift certificate for the raffle, Mrs. Holtzapfel said.

Fundraising didn’t just begin, though. The project started several months ago, with one small action, Mrs. Holtzapfel said.

"Rick McKnight of Bob Clyse Oldsmobiles wrote a letter concerning Shane to the Billy Ray Cyrus Foundation and asked him for a laptop computer to help Shane communicate with the outside world while he’s in isolation. Well, Billy Ray got in contact with Tri-Comp Computers in Huntington, W.Va., and they are going to donate a laptop computer and all the supplies so that Shane can communicate with the outside world and do his homework."

After receiving such a good response about the computer, Mrs. Holtzapfel and other concerned citizens decided to have the carnival to further help the Jones family, she said.

"Shane has a lot of friends and he’s just a real good kid," Mrs. Holtzapfel said. "But I think we would try to help anyone if we knew they had this problem."

The amount of time and energy organizers have devoted to putting on this carnival has amazed Mrs. Jones.

"I thought they were going to have a raffle," she said. "The next thing I know, this thing is blown up and they are doing a whole carnival."

And Shane will do the best he can to help out with the festivities, Mrs. Jones said.

"He told me he wanted to go down at 7 a.m. and help set up," she said. "He thinks he’s going to be down there all day, but we’ll see. If he can, he’ll be down there all day."

There will be no charge to attend the carnival, but donations will be accepted to help the Jones family, Mrs. Holtzapfel said.

If anyone cannot attend the carnival, but would like to help, they may contact Mrs. Holtzapfel or her husband, Joe, at 534-9347.

"A lot of people from Ironton have given and helped and we appreciate it," Mrs. Holtzapfel said.

Other carnival organizers are Sally Jones, Melissa Thompson and Frankie and Susan McClellan.