When 23-year-old Sophia Shock’s beloved Uncle Andy suffered a debilitating stroke at age 57, she prayed for assistance—and then sprang into action. The Plainfield, Indiana native

was sitting on the couch with her uncle’s dog, Alex, whom she now takes care of, when inspiration hit. “I had prayed many nights prior about finding a way to help Andy financially but didn’t know what that could be,” says Shock.

The medical bills were mounting and the family was looking at having to sell some of his belongings to pay for his medical care and therapy. “I looked down at his dog, Alex, who was wearing a bandana, and thought ‘that can’t be that hard to make.’” She had never sewn before in her life.

Shock created a TikTok video asking people to support her uncle by purchasing a bandana. She had around 500 followers at the time. “We thought we would maybe sell 20 bandanas,” she says. She may have surpassed that mark by just a little.

“This is the part where I get emotional,” she says. “I was completely in shock…never in a million years thought our video would go viral. I prayed many months after Andy’s stroke for something amazing to happen where I could financially help him with his care—and my prayers were answered and more.” They’ve now sold over 9,500 bandanas in 13 countries, and every state in the U.S. The initial video raised $11,500.

What she wasn’t ready for was immediately taking actual orders. “After I posted the video, I noticed we were receiving comments from people wanting to order immediately. I had to quickly create a website where I could take orders because hundreds of people were wanting to order!” She didn’t even have a sewing machine yet. “I told my fiancé we needed to go to the store to purchase a sewing machine…and we did so that night,” she recalls. Alex & Andy Pet Bandanas was born.

Shock found herself sewing seven days a week for 12+ hours every day. “Sitting at the sewing machine every day taught me more about myself than I ever knew before,” she says. They now have a few people who assist in making the bandanas so she no longer has to do it all by herself.

She attributes their success to the fact that “our story touches home with many families across the world.” Stroke is a leading cause of death in the world over; every 40 seconds someone in the United States has a stroke. “I never truly realized how many people were impacted by this until this experience,” she says. “We are all human and we all experience hardships and seeing everyone come together was so heartwarming. This experience has truly changed our lives. I can’t thank everyone enough for all of the love and support they’ve given us.”

They’ve now turned the initial fundraiser into a small business, “which helps give Andy a purpose again,” Shock says. They’ve branched into t-shirts as well, which Andy designs left-handed, due to right-side paralysis. Find them at alexandandypetbandanas.com and on TikTok @sophiarae98.

This article originally appeared in the award-winning Modern Dog magazine. Subscribe today!