She spent her winter break giving back


Any ordinary 10-year-old would spend every waking moment of their weeklong break from school recharging and relaxing. However, Kate Thompson found this vacation as an opportunity to help those in need.

When Kate, a fifth-grader at Marion Street Elementary School, saw that her mom was going to volunteer at a Monday at Racine Cancer Care event, she immediately asked her mom if she could go with her. The Feb. 19 event at Ambiance Salon in Hewlett where complimentary salon treatment was provided to cancer patients that are undergoing treatment.

“When my mom said she was going to go, I immediately jumped off the couch and got dressed as fast as I could to go with her,” Kate said.

Lynbrook resident Alison Artz, owner of Ambiance Salon, said she started working with Monday at Racine about four and a half years ago. Artz explained that her business is a “charter salon” for the organization.

“So what we do is we open our doors 10 times a year, always on the third Monday of the month and we provide free of charge salon spa and wellness services,” Artz said.

The services that are provided are massages, facials, nails treatments, hair color, haircuts, scalp treatments, makeup, reiki, and sometimes sound healing. Artz said she received a substantial donation of wigs from the organization Rock and Wrap it Up to cut and style for the patients attending the event.

Kate organized some of the files of the patients who attended the event. She, directed them to where to be, and she swept a lot of hair off the ground. She also made sure that the patients were well fed by bringing them bagels and coffee.

“I also gave them some goodie bags,” Kate said. “There was hair concealer, conditioner, brush, shampoo, and hair treatment in the bags.”

Artz said the event is catered from local restaurants like River Mill Tavern and Table in Lynbrook, Haviland Kitchen and Bar in East Rockaway, and more. She noted that her salon is the only business to carry out the Monday at Racine program in Nassau County.

“I was so impressed by Kate,” Artz said. “Her mom reached out to me and asked if it was okay if she can come.”

Artz said she loves when high school kids come to her program for community service, but because Kate wanted to help, she said that she was so impressed by her.

“She just did it out of the kindness of her heart,” Artz said. “And I just thought that was really amazing for such a young girl.”

Kate explained that she wanted to help these patients feel good about themselves.

“So I thought why not spread some more love and more smiles,” she continued. “And I think it might have made a lot of people’s days and made them feel better about themselves.”

Mary, a program participant, echoed Kate’s comments. She said that it was a “wonderful distraction” and a fantastic program that lets you escape for a day.

“I was diagnosed with breast cancer in May of 2022,” Mary said. “So I’m coming up on two years. I am not considered in remission just yet.”

Kate said that seeing her mom help so many people at the salon inspired her to do the same.

“I really do love helping people,” Kate said. “I’m also in Girl Scout Troop 2580 and every time I get to help people, I’m like ‘I’ll do it’ and help whoever I can.”

Mary said Kate will be decorating rocks and putting up positive messages around trees outside of  the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Nassau building in Uniondale. Kate will be dropping those rocks and messages off at the center during Mary’s next visit there.

Kate is involved with sports teams, dance classes, school, Scouts, but she said if she could put everything aside to help someone, she would.

When Kate left the salon last month, she noted that she was devastated because she wanted to continue to assist the cancer patients. Artz said that she will reach out to Mary and inform Kate about future events where she can volunteer.