“If only for a Second” Project from The Mimi Foundation Support and Wellbeing Center


When people are given makeovers, they typically expect to be made to look polished, sophisticated and beautiful.  However, in order to lift the spirits of 20 cancer patients, The Mimi Foundation Support and Wellbeing Center decided to take a different approach – the make under!  Julian Omidi discusses the “If only for a Second” project, which allowed people to forget their frightening and painful cancer experiences for just a moment by seeing themselves at their silliest and most outrageous.

When diagnosed with a potentially terminal illness such as cancer, one can easily neglect one of the most important elements of treatment: Maintaining or developing a solid emotional foundation.  Without the psychological means to cope with a cancer diagnosis, the potential for recovery is severely compromised.  It seems difficult to greet such a frightening event with any measure of hope and/or optimism, but the Mimi Foundation nonetheless strives to help people dealing with cancer do so in a positive and courageous way.

In order to keep up the spirits of some of the foundation’s patients, a surprise “makeover” was organized – but not the sort of makeover one typically sees on reality television programs and talk shows.  Because one patient being helped by The Mimi Foundation had once written that she had lost her carefree attitude towards life after being diagnosed, the foundation representatives got the idea to give 20 patients a unique kind of makeover that would make them temporarily forget their heavy burdens.

These patients were made over in absurd ways without their knowledge – outfitted in various types of ridiculous wigs and hideous makeup – and then told to shut their eyes right before the jest was revealed.  The goal of the make “under” was to give the patients a moment of hilarity that lifted them up from their cancer diagnoses.  The immediate reactions of the patients were instantly photographed for the “If only for a Second” project book.

The Mimi Foundation Support and Wellbeing Center is a Belgian organization that began in 2004 with the goal of helping cancer patients who were emotionally overwhelmed by the diagnosis and treatment.  The Mimi Foundation’s mission is to “contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of people affected by cancer, more specifically during the entire period of their chemotherapy/radiotherapy treatment.”

The Mimi Foundation recognizes that the only way a patient is going to overcome such a monumental struggle is by nurturing the spirit.  The different projects sponsored by The Mimi Foundation are all dedicated to aiding patients in their cancer journey, and giving them the necessary support to help them through their treatment with dignity, serenity and as much happiness as possible.

The photo book, “If only for a Second,” (“Ne Serait-ce Qu’une Seconde” in French) can be purchased through The Mimi Foundation website www.mimi-foundation.org.

By Julian Omidi

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