CARMEL, Ind. — A stroke survivor and his niece are making pet bandanas to raise money and the process also gives him a chance to practice some motor skills.
Social media has helped them reach over 100,000 people and led to hundreds of bandanas sold.
“It means the world and I know that’s such a cliché saying, but I truly from the bottom of my heart and from our family’s hearts, I cannot say thank you enough,” said Sophie Shock, the niece of stroke survivor Andy Thoman.
Andy suffered a severe stroke that left him unable to speak and paralyzed his right side. Now, he’s re-learning how to do things with his left hand.
“I think that this opportunity has not only given Andy a purpose, and me a purpose, it’s given other stroke survivors a purpose,” Sophie said.
“Our story and Andy’s story, the inspiration that it shows to others, we have received so many messages and people reaching out to just tell us that what we’re doing matters.”
When his family was considering selling belongs to afford his care, Sophie got the idea to sell pet bandanas instead.
“Prior to the stroke, he was very routine. He had his job, he loved what he did, and I think that’s probably true for every other stroke survivor. They had lives prior, and now their worlds have been changed upside-down. So, for us to be able to say, thousands of people have supported our journey, now it’s our time to help others.”
After the videos took off, they turned it into a small business and they are now doing well enough to turn it into a nonprofit to help other stroke survivors.
“This is just the beginning, but it will be so interesting to see how many people we can directly help and at least give them something to look forward to and a reason to smile after everything they’ve been through.”
You can either buy a bandana or donate directly to their nonprofit. They plan on making their first big donation to a partnering organization at the end of the year.
“I’m still shocked to this day and I’m so blessed that from one video and from the kindness of strangers literally across the world, we are able to do this and Andy now has a purpose again.”
If you’re interested in buying one of the pet bandanas, you can find more information here.