By Joseph Wolkin
One Smithtown spa and salon is going above and beyond to make sure cancer patients beat the Monday blues.
Mondays at Racine, a cancer care program created in 2003 by Racine Spa and Salon owner Rachel DeMolfetto and co-founder Cynthia Sansone has begun a new journey in conjunction with MAIA Salon Spa and Wellness in Smithtown.
Designed to give free salon care to cancer patients, Mondays at Racine’s services vary based on what the salon usually offers. In the case of MAIA — a full service salon and spa — they said they will do anything from shaving someone’s head to manicures and pedicures, along with yoga and reiki, a technique used to help the natural healing process in the patient’s body and restore physical and emotional well-being.
Karla Waldron, executive director for Mondays at Racine, said the salon reached out to them about being a part of the program.
“This woman that owns this salon is very well-known on Long Island, and she expressed interest in taking on the program,”, Waldron said. “Once that happened, we went into action to develop her program.”
The spa, owned by Agata Gajewski-Sathi, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to launch the new cancer care program on June 6, with approximately 50 people in attendance.
“The staff and I at MAIA Salon Spa and Wellness are honored to participate in the Mondays at Racine program,” Gajewski-Sathi said at the opening. “We look forward to making a positive difference in the lives of people going through a very challenging time. As a strong believer in the mind-body connection and an advocate of integrative and holistic healing modalities, I strongly believe that incorporating these alternative options will have many beneficial effects on the day-to-day quality of life of our clients who are fighting cancer.”
In addition to debuting the new program, the spa held a special screening of Mondays at Racine, an Academy Award nominated documentary created by HBO. The 2010 short film showcased how two sisters enabled women diagnosed with cancer to receive treatment at their spa every third Monday of the month.
“It follows some cancer patients around through their chemotherapy,” Waldron said. “It goes through their home life, their relationship with their husbands. The backdrop is our program. You can see them receiving the different services and it’s quite moving.”
The film was released in 2012, and after that, the group’s popularity increased dramatically.
The original Mondays at Racine started in Islip at Racine Spa and Salon, and now there are charter locations in Port Jefferson, Greenvale, and beyond.
Waldron said the mission of Mondays at Racine is to show support for community members who are struggling with cancer.
“We needed to do something for the people in our community that were dealing with the devastating side effects of cancers,” Waldron explained. “We were seeing more and more of them. They were our patrons and friends. We decided that as a part of giving back, let’s open up our doors and give complimentary services. We wanted to just treat them to something nice.”