42 - Littleton, CO
"These photographs affect families for the rest of their lives. My motivation is serving the families and knowing we'll change the way people heal."
Photographer Sandy Puc' received a unique request in February 2005. Cheryl and Mike Haggard asked her to photograph their six-day-old son, Maddux, before he was removed from life support and after - when he was free from the tubes and wires that sustained him. Sandy rearranged her schedule to come to their aid and took portraits of them cradling their son. Shortly after, Cheryl and Sandy worked together to start a nonprofit to provide the same service to other families facing the loss of a child. In April 2005, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) was established and has provided thousands of families of babies who are stillborn or at risk of dying soon after birth with free professional portraits.
In seven years, NILMDTS has built a network of 12,000 volunteer photographers in the U.S. and 40 countries. At least 20,000 families around the world and in every state have been served. Sandy has been a driving force behind the growth of NILMDTS. She has dedicated countless hours photographing babies, recruiting volunteers, and developing and conducting training for volunteer photographers. Typically, when a woman goes to the hospital to give birth, her baby will come home with her. Some women, however, go to the hospital to deliver a baby that has already been given a fatal diagnosis. These women still must go through the labor and delivery process. During this time, there is little to comfort the family for its loss. NILMDTS helps ease the pain and provide a legacy for the baby by capturing photographs. No other organization like NILMDTS exists in the world. Nearly all the families say the images they received are their most prized possession, and grieving their baby would have been more difficult without these photographs.
When the Haggard’s were in need, Sandy volunteered to be available. This is the essence of a volunteer. Nothing may have ever become of this one moment. She was willing to give of time and talent, even though the request was extremely unique and emotionally difficult. She then used much of her own resources to extend this service to families across the world. That's why Sandy is a 2012 Woman of Worth!