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Hundreds gather to welcome Shane #039;home#039;

Sta-Tan Pool was a sea of athletic uniforms Saturday, in honor of a Fighting Tiger who fought to the end.

Shane David Jones, 13, died Wednesday at Children's Hospital in Columbus after battling Leukemia most of his young life. After a funeral service at the Ironton High School gymnasium, friends and family gathered at Sta-Tan Pool for Shane's welcome "home" party.

"I can't say I'm surprised," Patty Jones, Shane's mother, said as she gazed at the crowd. "Shane was a heck of a kid. All these people showing up shows how everyone loved him."

"We're living up to our bargain," Shawn Jones, Shane's father, said. "We promised him a welcome home party."

Shawn Jones and 14-year-old Matt Jones, Shane's best friend, wore football jerseys with No. 45 on the front -- Shane's football number. Matt Jones boogied to the "Cha-Cha Slide."

"I loved him, and I miss him," said Matt Jones. "I'll really miss his fish face. He even did it when he was in a Christmas play last year. He was the only boy elf. We made fun of him for it, but he just laughed."

Most people gathered remembered Shane as being a selfless young man who regarded others' needs more important than his own.

"When he was really sick, people came to see him that were waiting in the hallway," said Shawn Jones. "He didn't want them to be hurt. He said, 'Just tell them to come in and tell me 'bye.'"

"He put others first. It's something we all need to do," Mike O'Bryant, the minister who officiated at Shane's funeral, said. "Some people want to quit when they're faced with things like this. Shane never quit."

After Shane underwent a bone marrow transplant in 1999, Shawn Jones said he was especially proud of his son one day at a ballpark.

"Four to five months after his transplant, Shane walked out on the field and threw the first pitch," he said. "I not only got to watch him throw that pitch, but I got to see him play second."

"Shane's in a better place," T.J. Keith, one of Shane's classmates, said. "Right now, he's looking down on us smiling and being happy."

A table was filled with various pictures of Shane. Two were pictures of his parents holding him moments after his birth.

One item on the table was a poem written by Shane in 1995 titled, "The Song About Jesus and God."

He wrote: "…While the stars brighten up the night, Jesus and God are looking down over everybody … They hear everybody in bed at night saying their prayers … Then, they look up at the stars and say, 'Thank you God and Jesus for making everything look beautiful.'"