Joseph Gaines

A GoFundMe campaign has been started in the name of Joseph Gaines, known to some as “Mr. Joe,” a bus driver who has driven the “Happy Bus” in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District for almost a decade.

As reported on the GoFundMe page, Gaines has prostate cancer and has not been able to drive his bus this year. He reportedly will undergo stem cell treatment at Robert Wood John University Hospital in New Brunswick for four weeks starting in January.

“Joe lovingly took care of all the children he came in touch with and is universally admired for all that he selflessly did for ‘my children or my little friends’ (in his words),” reads the GoFundMe page, started by Jahingir Nakra.

Gaines is retired and on Medicare, which reportedly will only cover 80 percent of his expenses. The GoFundMe campaign is seeking $20,000 in donations.

Many people have left comments on the GoFundMe page, including “Lisa,” who wrote, “Joe, I was the black Honda CRV/dark green Honda HRV behind your bus on Church Road in the morning. Your thoughtfulness and good cheer was a bright spot in my daily commute to the train station! Sending you a friendly ‘toot toot’ and a wave this morning with wishes for a speedy recovery.”