Mondays at Racine Honors Its Mentors
This October 27th, the philanthropic organization Mondays at Racine will honor Carmen DePasquale, founder and CEO of DePasquale Companies, and Joe Mastalia, president of DePasquale Salon Systems, with its Mentor Award at the philanthropy’s 2nd annual fund-raising gala. Launched by sisters Cynthia Sansone, Rachel Demolfetto, and Karla Waldron, along with Sansone’s daughter RoseMary Holcomb, Mondays at Racine provides a safe haven for cancer patients to receive complimentary beauty treatments from an understanding and educated team of professionals in the normal setting of the women’s Racine Salon and Spa in Islip, New York.
Inspired by their own mother’s battle with cancer in the 1980s and her subsequent depression as she struggled to find someone who could help her cope with hair loss and other side effects from cancer treatments, the sisters opened their own salon and launched the program ten years ago, offering the complimentary services one Monday a month, a day the salon normally would be closed to the salon’s other clientele.
In 2013, an HBO Films documentary about Mondays at Racine received a nomination for an Oscar, gaining national attention to the program, and last year the women threw their first fund-raising gala, with the benefits helping them expand their program to every Monday, instead of once a month. “We’ve gone from helping 30 people a month to 120 plus,” says Sansone. “Although we are weekly program, we do provide daily head shavings, scalp treatments and wig cutting for free as needed, and have added more integrative treatments like yoga, meditation and Reiki. Just as important, we have started tracking and analyzing the program to validate how these services help our clients recover—it’s truly incredible.”
With the Oscar nod and the national attention, so came requests from other salons interested in launching similar programs. Consulting with a medical advisory board, the women put together an educational toolkit with procedures and protocols on how to launch a Mondays program, and they currently are working with a dozen salons around the country and one in London on implementation. They have an ambitious goal of reaching 1,000 salons with the program by 2017.
As one of the first distributors that Racine Salon and Spa ever did business with, DePasquale Salon Systems has known the women for many years and has supported the development of the Mondays at Racine program. “Not only did they generously provide education and help us grow our salon business through the years, but as we looked to launch this grassroots organization Carmen and Joe really offered valuable mentorship and advice that helped us get it off the ground,” says Waldron.
“These women took a negative situation and turned it into a positive program for their entire community, and now it’s growing into an incredible movement that is helping patients find some valuable normalness in the salon at a time when their worlds are being turned upside down,” says Mastalia. “We are honored by this award and glad that we helped in some small way, but really, we all should be celebrating them and emulating this program.”