If Only For One Second

By Cara Jay

ArianeFew among us is a stranger to cancer. Those who have experienced it first-hand are familiar with the devastating effects it can have on not only the ill, but also their families and friends. Cancer survivor Myriam Ullens de Schooten, President and Founder of the Mimi Foundation in Belguium, recalls her fight with cancer, and how nurturing support to persevere came from all aspects of her life. When organizing the Mimi Foundation, she “adopted the belief that cancer must be attacked on all fronts, not just medically.”

The Mimi Foundation (which has hospitals in Belgium, France and Switzerland) recently released a very special project, a photo book titled, Ne Serait-ce Qu’une Seconde, or “If Only for One Second,” that was inspired by a woman battling cancer who said, “You know what I miss the most? Being carefree.” So the Mimi Foundation set out to create an inspiring, innovative way to bring that carefree feeling back to those who had lost it to cancer – to remind them that it is possible even in the midst of their illnesses, If Only for One Second.

A Project to Create SmilesPatrick

The Mimi Foundation, in collaboration with Leo Burnett France (the famed creative advertising firm) invited 20 cancer patients to visit a studio in Brussels for an unprecedented hair and makeup makeover. Participants were unable to see themselves while hair dressers and cosmetologists worked on their face and tresses for an exciting transformation.

Then came the anticipated two-stage “big reveal,” in two special stages. First, to immortalize the experience on film, as well as to snap a photograph at the precise special moment – when each patient would be asked to open his or her eyes. The photographer captured on camera the exact instant when each person saw his or her transformation for the very first time – the very jiffy that allowed them to forget their cancer condition, if only for one second.

The second stage of the unveiling was when the photographs would be revealed to loved ones of the patients for the first time. At the moment of the second reveal, smiling faces, laughter and giggles spread across the entire room. It was another treasured instant when cancer didn’t exist for the families, either.

HayatThe heart of the project was achieved – to create a completely unbridled, carefree moment and spread smiles – if only for one second.

Sale proceeds of the photo book If Only For One Second benefit patients at the Mimi Foundation. It is available at www.mimi-foundation.org or by emailing seconde@mimi-foundation.org. Why not check it and get carried away by laughter, chuckles and a carefree smile.

If Only For One Second