Critters for the Cure

Posted: October 14, 2013 by Judy Licht Photography in Cancer, Dogs, General, People, Portraits

My friend Sandi died a few weeks ago.  We were friends — real friends — for less than 10 months.  It was too short.  She called and asked me to photograph her when she found out her breast cancer had returned…stage 4.  On the last day of last year, she came to my house and in two hours, I shot her in six different poses in six different outfits.  Serious, sexy, sitting, standing.  She ended the session in a black leotard on a black velvet cloth on my floor cycling through yoga moves, calm, flexible, and balanced.  I was marinating curried fish for a party that night;  she was processing the news that she would have to undergo chemotherapy again.

The photographs preserved her image.  She was a beautiful woman.  She radiated energy.  She looked smart and happy, confident, and she had plans. Cancer was not going to defeat her.  She called herself a Cancer Diva and wrote a blog.  The pictures we took that day became her banner.


She smashed her car, her arm swelled up, she broke a wine glass at her friend’s beach house.  She turned every day mishaps into funny stories, and when her oncologist said he could no longer treat her cancer, she moved on to plan B, researching alternative treatments.  While she was fighting to stay alive, she was busy.  Busy working, writing, volunteering for organizations helping cancer patients, setting up appointments to photograph her beloved pup, Lulu, and finding work for me.

Sandi loved to network, and she hooked me up with Clancy Kress, the founder of Critters for the Cure, an organization that offers financial assistance, transportation, wigs, and other help to women with breast and gynecological cancers.  What makes the organization unique is that it focuses on the relationship between women and their pets.  Every year, they publish a calendar with patients and doctors and their pets.  Sandi was not only determined to model — she is Ms. December 2014 — she made sure Clancy gave me the photography job!

Sandi came back to my studio in July, and she looked marvelous.  Well, actually, she looked a little tired, but she put on a tight black dress, painted her face, fixed her hair, and we had a fun afternoon.  Serious, sexy, sitting, standing.  And smiling.  Still busy, still planning, still networking.  Throughout the months of my great friendship with Sandi, she was always looking ahead, and I believed she was going to be okay.  She died in September and I miss her for her friendship, her optimism, and the way she went to bat for me.  Thanks, Sandi.

Here are a few photos from the calendar…to learn more about Critters for the Cure, go to http://crittersforthecure.org0001_0081_CA8A6857b-Edit0001_0068_CA8A6765-Edit0001_0105_CA8A7061 copy-Edit0001_0022_CA8A6444-Edit


  1. Karen Allen says:

    You captured Sandi’s character in your photos and now your words. Lovely piece.
    Karen A.


  2. Patty Murphy says:

    Judy – you brought tears of joy and sadness to my eyes. What a wonderful story and great photos


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