Six month after he was shot during a dognapping incident, Lady Gaga‘s dogwalker, Ryan Fischer, has launched a GoFundMe to help him purchase a new van for his healing cross-country trip. Fischer revealed that the effort, which he launched on Monday (Aug. 16), came together over the weekend when he said goodbye to the “quasi-reliable” 1991 Ford Falcon rental sedan that he drove across the U.S. for two months.
“At times I was scared. I was lonely. I felt abandoned and unsupported. I had long bouts of depression and doubt and self-pity,” wrote Fischer, who was walking Gaga’s three dogs in Los Angeles on Feb. 24 when a gunman shot him in the chest and fled the scene with two of the dogs. “But those backroads that took me to desert campsites and Walmart parking lots and rest stops and friends and family to New York and back began to help me see why I had chosen to leave the security of the Hollywood Hills where I fought for my life and mobility.”
He added that he needs to work on strengthening his emotional and mental health, and is trying to do just that. “Having that understanding helped me frame what I need from the rest of this sabbatical: getting a van and exploring this country while seeking out communities that support the process of growing from trauma,” he shared.
Fischer’s GFM has a goal of raising $40,000 to buy a new van and pay for travel expenses to continue his journey of healing from the trauma of the attack. “With no vehicle, apartment, and having run out of savings and surviving on donations from generous loved ones, I am humbly asking for your help,” he wrote about being one-third of the way through his six-month journey to finding peace. “This is not an easy thing to ask, but I have started to realize sharing your vulnerability with others is exactly when radical change begins to occur for everyone involved.”
In addition to the money for to cover his travel, Fischer requested input about retreats for trauma around the country as well as queer spiritual leaders and healers he can reach out to, and any suggestions about how he can best share what he learns along the way. “love you, and thank you for all the ways you have supported me throughout; I truly can’t wait to see how the next step of this journey unfolds for us all,” he wrote.
Five suspects were arrested in connection with the shooting and the dognapping. The dogs were safely returned, but Fischer suffered a collapsed lung during his recovery, which required surgery and a partial removal. At press time, Fischer had raised more than $4,600 of his $40,000 goal from 66 donors, who ponied up anywhere from $10 to $1,000.
Check out the trailer for Fischer’s GoFundMe below.