Hair, Hope and Healing
Racine owners Rachel DelMolfetto & Cynthia Sansone.
Cynthia Sansone and her sister Rachel DelMolfetto watched helplessly for nine years as their mother battled cancer before succumbing to the disease. One of the hardest aspects of that time, Cynthia relates, was when chemotherapy caused her mom’s hair to fall out. “We didn’t know how to handle the situation,” she recalls.
After her death, Cynthia and Rachel reflected on how much their mother enjoyed visiting the salon. “It was always a place she went for refuge,” says Cynthia. So 10 years ago, they created Mondays at Racine, a program that invites cancer patients to visit the salon for complimentary restorative treatments, support and pampering. Today, salons throughout the country have embraced the Mondays at Racine program in their communities, and the organization is the subject of an Oscar-nominated documentary, produced by HBO.
Lisa Hard has been battling breast cancer for 19 years. She is a regular at Racine.
Striving to provide the comfort, beauty and pampering that is often lost during cancer treatment, the sisters’ goal was to create, “a healing haven filled with wonderful, loving energy and services that range from manis/pedis, lashes and scalp treatments as well as massages, facials, yoga and meditation,” explains Cynthia.
This testimonial from a Mondays at Racine client sums up the enormous benefit of the program: “I have been in treatment for nearly four years for breast and colon cancers. I have had four major surgeries, and I am currently in my third session of chemo for metastasis. Last week was so hard, I almost gave up. But today I had my Day at Racine. What a difference a day makes! These women are angels on earth! I spent the afternoon being pampered, fed and educated! I left feeling like there is still hope; I feel that I can warrior on through all the horrid side effects. The best part is it’s all free! Bless you girls, and love to all of you!”
Sisters Rachel and Cynthia working together at Racine.
Since its inception, Mondays has experienced tremendous growth. “At first, we provided the complimentary spa and salon services once a month to anybody in treatment for any cancer,” says Cynthia. “We had a staff of 12 and the salon absorbed the costs. Now, thanks to all the publicity from the film, we are an established 501c3. We operate every Monday with longer hours, and we have eight additional affiliates at salons throughout the country and Europe. We now have close to 25 people on our staff.”
It was the documentary that brought the salon program to the attention of Wella. “Villamor Asuncion, who works for P&G, saw the documentary and contacted me,” says Cynthia. At his suggestion, she entered the Hairdressers at Heart Charity Challenge, and was thrilled to learn she won $2,500. She says she plans to put the money toward marketing, and to help jump-start some educational programs that had been “put on the back burner.”
“Awards like this really reinforce the beauty industry’s commitment to philanthropy,” Cynthia comments. “This industry truly possesses such immense power.”
And now, Mondays at Racine is using that power to help on a larger scale. On Monday October 26th, at Crest Hollow Country Club in Woodbury, NY, the group will be hosting their very first ever Long Island Beauty Ball. This showcase event will feature leaders in the health, wellness and beauty industries to educate and empower those living with cancer, survivors and caretakers about the latest technology, products and services available today. With things like raffles, demonstrations, entertainment and spa experiences—this event will surely be a night to remember.