By Briana Panetta and Tristan Manaloto
Racine Salon & Spa in Islip is offering free salon and spa services on the third Monday of every month to cancer patients. Coined “Mondays at Racine”, these services are part of a cancer care program.
“What this is, is a little bit of a fantasy day, because it’s a respite from what torture they’re going through with these treatments,” Kim Rammelkamp Cherevas, daughter of a cancer patient that attended Racine said. “They’re pampered and cared for, but it’s more than that, it’s like an emotional support system.”
The goal of “Mondays at Racine” is to decrease anxiety and pain by nurturing cancer patients in an attempt to revitalize their confidence, Rachel DeMolfetto, founder and CEO of Racine Salon & Spa said.
“It began on behalf of our mother who passed away in the 80s and wasn’t really treated well because there wasn’t a lot of awareness,” Cynthia Sansone, the President and founder of Mondays at Racine Cancer Care Foundations said. “We decided to take hold of that and put a call to action.”
The name “Racine” combines the names of Rachel DeMolfetto and Cynthia Sansone, sisters who founded “Mondays at Racine” in 2003 to honor their mother.
“My mom had cancer at a time where she couldn’t even say the word breast, it was like saying the word tit,” Sansone said. “When she went for treatment at salons, they didn’t know what to do for her.”
The program takes place every third Monday of the month and on average the salon services about 50 clients. Treatments range from cosmetics, yoga, and massage therapy, to head shaving and wig care.
Chemotherapy-induced hair loss has been shown to lower patient self-esteem and deprive patients of their privacy because the public commonly associates hair loss with cancer, according to pharmacytimes.com. Forty-seven percent of female cancer patients consider hair loss to be the most traumatic aspect of chemotherapy, with 8% of them stating they would decline treatment for fear of hair loss.
The program has extended beyond touching the lives of cancer patients, Jaimie Martinez, Deputy Director of the Town of Islip Foreign Trade Zone Authority said. The surrounding community has taken note and honored “Mondays at Racine.”
“I attended a Town Board meeting where Racine’s Salon was honored for the great work they do in the Town of Islip, Martinez said. “It’s great to see a local business giving back to the community.”
The program has not only been widely recognized by the community, but HBO also made “Mondays at Racine” into a documentary. It was nominated for an Oscar at the Academy Awards in 2013.
“I haven’t been emotionally ready for it yet,” Cherevas said, “But I have every intention of watching it.”
Racine Salon & Spa will host a yearly fundraiser called the Long Island Beauty Ball on October 30th at the Crest Hollow Country Club. It puts both the beauty and healthcare industry in one room to raise money.
“Part of our mission is not only to do the actual program in Islip but it is also to teach other salons in their own communities, thereby providing these services Long Island wide,” DeMolfetto said. “We have been recognized by a lot of people in the beauty industry as well as the medical industry because they have been finding that this program is essential in helping cancer patients get through their experience.”