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Poignant Moments of Astonishment, Whimsy, and Joy Captured in Unique Photography Exhibit

"If Only for a Second" captures cancer patients' moments of unexpected joy and whimsy.



"You know what I miss the most? Being carefree" says Katy A, a woman diagnosed with cancer 2 years ago. 


This was just one of the many revelations from cancer patients as they share how the illness has affected their lives and made them nervous about the future. Inspired by this, Mimi Foundation collaborated with Leo Burnett to invite 20 cancer patients for a unique makeover.


As soon as the patients sat down, makeup brushes stroked their faces and they were adorned with dramatic wigs. Throughout the makeover, the patients were asked to keep their eyes closed. At about the 2:00 mark, it becomes clear why: 



When the patients were finally allowed to open their eyes, a photographer captured their initial reaction as they took in their new and rather unique look.  A lady giggled as she caressed the blonde Afro on her head. Another lady with a Victorian wig showed a look of happy surprise.


Cancer causes both short-term and permanent physical changes. Hair loss, scars, weight fluctuations and skin discoloration are just some of the changes that a cancer patient goes through affecting one's mental and emotional well being.


The makeover allows the cancer patients to laugh and forget their illness, if only for a second.


Mimi Foundation - a Brussel charity that provides emotional and moral support for cancer patients - undertook the 'If Only For One Second' campaign as a new way to fight cancer and the despair that such a disease often cause. To date, the video has reached over 14 millions views with praises for the courage and strength that the makeover has given to cancer patients around the world. 


The images from the makeover has been turned into a book entitled "If Only For A Second". On Nov. 2, participants and family member attended the book's launch party, where all the makeover photos were unveiled. According to the Mimi Foundation's press release, "Within a second, smiling faces were seen all over the room. At that very moment, the cancer did not exist for the family members either."


What You Can Do: 


- Purchase 'If Only For A Second'. Proceeds from the book goes to Mimi Foundation to provide funding for well-being centers.


- Support the Mimi Foundation by making a donation


- Volunteer for a cancer society in your area