Lady Gaga’s dogwalker, Ryan Fischer, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help fund the purchase of a new van, with which he’ll continue the cross-country road trip he embarked on two months ago.
The GoFundMe campaign was made public on Monday (August 16), after Fischer ceased travels with his previous van “Trudy”, a 1991 Ford Falcon rental that he said “drove like a boat in high wind”.
Fischer began his six-month journey trekking across the US back in June, citing a need to recover from the trauma he sustained from being shot while he was walking three of Gaga’s dogs in February.
“At times I was scared,” he wrote in a statement alongside his GoFundMe. “I was lonely. I felt abandoned and unsupported. I had long bouts of depression and doubt and self-pity. 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.
“All that time spent reclaiming my body, I now needed to be equally devoted to strengthening my emotional and mental health. 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.
“For me, this includes retreat centres, trauma programs, queer healers, creatives and spiritual leaders. And I can’t wait to honestly share in the process and heal with you all along for the ride through writings, discussions and quirky videos (and maybe an interpretive dance or two).”
Fischer also shared a minute-long video to support the campaign, showcasing footage of his recovery in hospital, his travels thus far and some of his recent poetry. Take a look at it below:
At the time of publication, Fischer has raised almost half of his $40,000 target amount – $5,000 of which came from a single anonymous donator – just two days after the campaign was launched.
He wrote that he plans to use the funds to cover “a van purchase [and] travel expenses”, and “welcome[s] all input on retreats for trauma throughout the country as well as queer spiritual leaders and healers, and how best to highlight and share with you along the way.”
Gaga called Fischer a “hero” after the shooting incident in February. Fischer was walking three of the pop star’s dogs when he was shot four times outside his home in West Hollywood. Reports claimed that police found him conscious but barely breathing, before he was transported to hospital in a “grave” condition.
He spoke out for the first time after the incident in March, sharing gratitude for first responders and healthcare workers, as well as a deluge of well-wishes from Gaga’s fans. He said he was expected to fully recover from his injuries. Later that month he revealed that he had part of his lung removed, saying: “Recovery isn’t a straight line.”