JIM THORPE, CARBON COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)– A Carbon County community is rallying behind a 57-year-old man’s family who is raising money to buy a new vehicle. Eyewitness News spoke with his family about the reasons behind the need, and why he calls himself “The King of Jim Thorpe.”

“Tony is the essence of life. He is joy, he is happiness, he is what we wish that everybody would be on this earth,” says Deb Taylor, sister-in-law, and caregiver to 57-year-old Tony Taylor.

Tony has Down syndrome and physical limitations due to a rod in his leg from a past surgery.

Last month Tony suffered from a violent seizure that broke his femur bone, and due to the rod doctors had to remove the ball from his hip.

“He used to swing his leg to get into the car, swing his leg to get to wherever he wants to go, to get up on the walker, to transfer to the wheelchair, and unfortunately he’s not going to be able to do that anymore,” says Mellissa Baker, Tony’s niece.

Baker decided to raise money for a new van that would help his recovery. “My sister and I talked the other day about, you know it was just an idea. Like how do we make tony’s quality of life better? Because insurance will cover equipment and stuff, but the van is the biggie,” Baker says.

Five days after Baker started the gofundme page, nearly $9,000 has been raised. The family is speechless from the community support.

“The amount of people that are out there, especially strangers, that never met him before and just see the goodness in him. I mean you look at pictures of tony and see that smile and I feel like you know his heart. It’s humbling,” says Baker.

Looking past the difficult road ahead, Tony was elated to hear of the fundraiser and already has plans to name the new set of wheels, the “Batman Van.”