Lady Gaga's Dog Walker Asks for Support Funding Self-Healing Road Trip After Near-Death Attack
Ryan Fischer, the dog walker who was shot and critically injured during the violent February kidnapping of Lady Gaga's two French bulldogs, is asking for help funding the rest of his recovery road trip.
Fischer previously revealed that his lung collapsed several times after being shot in the attack, but he expressed optimism about his recovery and gratitude about the support he has received from many people, including the "Born This Way" singer, 35. Shortly after the attack, Gaga released a statement calling Fischer a "hero."
"I continue to love you Ryan Fischer, you risked your life to fight for our family," she tweeted on Feb. 26. "You're forever a hero."
In a description on a GoFundMe page he set up Monday, Fischer explained that he embarked on a road trip, a quest "devoted to strengthening my emotional and mental health" by seeking out "retreat centers, trauma programs, queer healers, creatives and spiritual leaders."
Two months into what he said is a six-month "sabbatical," his "quasi-reliable 1991 Ford Falcon rental that drove like a boat in high wind" broke down, so he's asking fans for donations to help him finish the trip.
"So here I am, two months down on a 6 month journey. And, on this Feast of Saint Rocque, I have a clear purpose but am at an obvious impasse," wrote Fischer. "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. 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."
Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.
Fischer also shared a YouTube video in which he includes images of his recovery in the hospital, showing off his gunshot wound, plus clips of him on the cross-country expedition. The video is titled "On the Road Towards Recovery with Ryan Fischer, Dogwalker."
So far on the trip, he said, "At times I was scared. 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," he added of what inspired the trip. "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. ... 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)."
RELATED VIDEO: Dog Walker Ryan Fischer Opens Up About Violent Robbery, Tells Lady Gaga 'Your Babies Are Back'
As of Tuesday morning, the crowd-funding page has raised over $3,500 of a $40,000 goal. Fischer said the funds will be used "in supporting a van purchase, travel expenses and welcome 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."
"I love you," he wrote, "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."
A rep for Gaga did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
In April, police in Los Angeles arrested five suspects in connection with the February incident, in which Fischer was shot once in the chest before the assailants drove away with Gaga's dogs.