GILROY — Brynn Ota-Matthews, one of the people wounded at the Gilroy Garlic Festival on Sunday, was released from Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose on Aug. 1.
Her friend Gabriella Gaus, who was also wounded, was released from St. Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy earlier this week.
In a press conference on Thursday, the two thanked first responders, medical staff and the community for all they have done in the aftermath of the shooting, which killed three, including two children, and wounded 15. The gunman was also killed.
Ota-Matthews’ mother, Victoria Ota of Santa Cruz, established a page on Gofundme.com on Monday with the following message: “Our daughter was shot in the back yesterday at the Gilroy Garlic Festival shooting and is in the trauma ICU. She is uninsured and has already been approached about how she is going to pay for her care.
“She won’t be able to work for at least a month and will be facing financial problems soon in addition to having a bullet lodged in her liver. At the request of our daughter and the hospital staff we have been asked to keep her details anonymous.
“Thank you in advance for any help you can offer her. We’re totally overwhelmed with gratitude for the generosity of friends and strangers.”
As of Friday evening, more than $33,000 had been raised toward the $40,000 goal from 766 donors.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Ota-Matthews wrote: “I have been trying to write this post for three days now. Some of you already know and many of you don’t. This Sunday, four of my friends and I attended the Gilroy Garlic Festival when an active shooter entered the grounds and opened fire.
“We were all very close to the shooter when this happened, and my friend Gabriella and I were both shot while running to safety. The five of us were very lucky to escape alive, but I have spent three nights in the hospital so far. I was shot in the back and I will likely have a bullet lodged between my liver and my ribs for the rest of my life.
“I am on the path to physical recovery but there are mounting financial and mental concerns I will have to address in the future. This gofundme was created by my family to help ease some of these concerns.
“I didn’t want to share it until I was ready to share my story, and I’m still not completely sure how ready I am to lay this all out there, but mine and Gabriella’s story is spreading and I want to have a voice in it.
“This was incredibly violating and painful for everyone involved. I’m not even ready to get into the politics of it. I’m just so happy to be alive. I’m so happy that my friends are alive. I don’t know what my healing process will entail, but there will be many hurdles and lots of therapy.
“The generosity has already been so overwhelming. I can’t put into words how thankful I am for the amount of love and support I have received from my family, friends, my beautiful partner, my coworkers, medical staff and even complete strangers.
“People who know me know that I don’t like to ask for help. But at this time I really do appreciate every good vibe and every well wish. Please make sure to send your love to Stephen Romero, Keyla Salazar, Trevor Irby [the three who were killed], and their families. Send your love to the other patients in the hospital with me still, as well as their families. Pray for Gabriella and her family. This was a senseless crime and it affects a whole community.
“Please, also send your love to my incredible boyfriend. He ran towards me and found me when this all happened and guided me and Gabriella to safety. He has been one of many people who have helped me feel safe and happy on my road towards normalcy.”