June is cancer survivor awareness month, the perfect opportunity to spotlight a beauty-related organization making a difference.
Mondays at Racine Cancer Care Foundation is a non-profit that provides health, beauty, and wellness services for women, men, and young adults undergoing treatment for any type of cancer – all free of charge. With services aimed at improving overall strength and reducing anxiety, the non-profit focuses on the whole person, not just the disease.
How it All Started
Mondays at Racine was founded in 2003 by sisters Rachel DeMolfetto and Cynthia Sansone in honor of their mother, Mildred DeMolfetto, who passed away in 1989 from breast cancer at the age of 58. Mildred’s five-year battle with the disease destroyed her self-esteem as she struggled with baldness, anxiety, and other devastating side effects of cancer treatment.
Cynthia and Rachel remembered how much their mother looked forward to her visits to the salon. Rachel owned Racine Salon & Spa in Islip, NY, so the sisters created an oasis of restoration and healing to ease the cancer journey for others in their mother’s memory. On the third Monday of every month, Cynthia and Rachel provided beauty and wellness services for free to anyone in their community who was undergoing treatment for cancer, officially launching Mondays at Racine.
At a time when no one recognized the emotional side of being diagnosed with cancer, the newly-formed Mondays at Racine set out to offset the ravaging side effects of treatment and provide solace, care, and support to community members stricken with the terrible disease. Because the key to a patient’s well-being entails more than just the clinical side of healing, Mondays at Racine works with a patient’s standard care regimen to give much-needed attention to the mental, physical, spiritual, and social aspects.
Rachel and Cynthia’s sister, Karla Waldron, became the Executive Director of Mondays at Racine, and Cynthia’s daughter Rosemary Berger joined as the Director of Education and Programming. Currently, all five of Mildred’s daughters play a significant role in the organization.
The Mondays at Racine Cancer Care Foundation is based in Sayville, NY, with 18 charter salon locations in New York. Since 2003, Mondays at Racine has helped more than 10,000 individuals and countless families overcome the physical burden and stressors associated with cancer. Patients are referred through local hospitals and treatment centers and can receive services from a participating salon.
In 2012, HBO released Mondays at Racine, a documentary that showed cancer patients’ struggles and heartache and the respite they find from this disease at Mondays at Racine. The film was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013 and spurred an outpouring of public support, leading Cynthia and Rachel to establish Mondays at Racine as an official nonprofit.
Rosy Salon Software is a proud sponsor of Mondays at Racine and provides free software subscriptions to all charter accounts.
Mondays at Ambiance
One of the 13 Mondays at Racine locations is Ambiance Salon in Hewlett, NY. In 2020, Ali Artz took over the salon from the former owner and announced she was relaunching the salon’s partnership with the Mondays at Racine Cancer Care Foundation. Today, she runs a charter salon where she and her team offer gentle head shaving and waxing, massage therapy, non-toxic hair dye and manicures, organic facials and skin care, pedicures, re-growth haircuts, therapeutic pedicures, wig care, and wig styling.
“I feel so fortunate to have one of the best jobs in the world. I get to make people feel great about themselves, someone going through a horrible, horrible battle with cancer,” said Artz in an article from 2020. “They don’t feel good and are not looking their best. I get to do my job for a person who needs it the most and has so many other things on their plate appearance goes to the bottom of their list. My team gets to unite for a good cause.”
Mondays at Salon Be
In early 2018, Salon Be of Bluepoint, NY, unveiled its new cancer care program in partnership with Mondays at Racine. The program offers complimentary beauty and wellness services for those undergoing treatment for cancer one Monday a month. Services include haircuts, head shaving, scalp treatments, wig care, cosmetic services, specialty brow and lash services, plus facials, nail care, and massages.
As one of the newest charter salons of the Mondays at Racine Cancer Care Foundation, Salon Be staff have committed to carrying out the Mondays at Racine mission of helping people living with cancer face the challenge of healing.
“The staff and I at Salon Be are honored to participate in the Mondays at Racine program. We look forward to making a positive difference in the lives of people with cancer. We all know how devastating this disease can be, so if shaving a head, holding someone’s hand, or just lending an ear can help, we’re honored to do it,” said Mary Szmala, owner of Salon Be in a 2018 article.
“We’re excited for Salon Be to join the Mondays at Racine family,” added Karla Waldron, Executive Director for Mondays at Racine Cancer Care Foundation. “Mary and her team are an excellent addition to our growing Charter Salon program on Long Island, giving those dealing with cancer another place to go for treatments, support, and a smiling face.”
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Monday at Racine Cancer Care provides hands-on, integrative wellness and beauty services to anyone undergoing cancer treatment of any kind. If you own a salon or spa or are a licensed service provider and want to donate your time/services, click HERE to join the Mondays at Racine Cancer Care mission to change the face of cancer one Monday at a time.