Friday, April 8, 2016

Abby Asistio's Experience during My Facebook Friends Day

Facebook has become a household name since Mark Zuckerberg invented it, and I guess a lot of people (including me) would like to meet him in person.  I've seen photos on the Internet online on how Facebook office looks like and it made me wish to be able to work there in the future. 

If you will receive an invitation from Mark Zuckerberg to see him in person, what will you do?  For sure, I won't be able to contain my happiness and will feel blessed to be part of that entourage :)

Our very own Abby Asistio, who is known for having alopecia, an autoimmune condition which results to partial or total head and body hair loss, was one of the lucky 18 people invited by Facebook to celebrate their 12th Anniversary Friends Day together with California-based alopecia awareness advocate, Rachel Regal.  Abby Asistio is a singer and she struggled with her condition since she was four years old until she decided to come out bald during one of her gigs.  Abby is also known for being a Real Beauty advocate, encouraging girls and women with insecurities, who are also consumed with the world's unrealistic and sometimes superficial standards of beauty.  Rachel Regal, on the other hand, developed alopecia in 2012, the same year when she discovered that her own 10-year old daughter Eliana, had it too.  


Abby Asistio posing with his Facebook Friends Day ID

Abby with Rachel Regal, also an alopecia advocate


For Facebook Friends Day celebration, six inspiring stories were picked by Facebook among its 1.64 billion users around the world.  Abby's friends were all amazed and delighted to know that her story was one of them.  Wow, she's one lucky gal!





Abby and Rachel met through the double A hand sign campaign.  Abby herself started this campaign in 2012.  Since then, Abby and Rachel have been "connected".  Last year, Facebook Stories featured how these two were able to build a friendship despite the distance and how they were able to spread awareness about the medical condition through Facebook.  

Last February 1st, 2016, Abby and Rachel had the chance to tour Facebook headquarters in Menlo Park, San Francisco.  They both had a chance too to meet and chat with all the people behind Facebook, among them are Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, and CPO Chris Cox.  Also, they get to bring home cool gadgets.  Abby and Rachel said that this was indeed one of the best experiences that they have so far.


Mark Zuckerberg posing with double A sign together with Abby and Rachel 

In an interview, Abby recalled her feelings when she met Mark Zuckerberg in person.  For her it was indeed a surreal experience.  During the meet-up, Mark Zuckerberg was wearing his signature looks (jeans, sneakers, shirt, and a big smile on his face).  Mark Zuckerberg exudes a friendly, approachable aura and demeanor during the event.  You won't feel intimidated by his appearance and personality at all.  Mark Zuckerberg shared his success story, on how the company started, its mission-vision, the ups and downs that came along, and its future plans.  

All those who were invited during the event were also given a chance to ask Mark Zuckerberg some questions.  Someone asked him about achieving success and life's "impossibilities", Mark Zuckerberg said that, "There is a difference between impossible and the things taking a really long time.  Even if you are not going to be able to do something in a short time period, if you care about something, you want to see the world to move into that direction...So the best thing to do is just get started and not be discouraged.  It's tough because this stuff is hard, or else people would've already done it."

Abby also had her turn in asking questions to one of the world's 50 most powerful and successful women in business, Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg.  Abby asked Sheryl about her perception on real beauty and she said that beauty is just like success and that no one could really define it for you.  For Sheryl, everyone is unique; everyone has their own story, dream, and desires.  Sheryl even encouraged everyone to explore our own inner and outer beauty, to believe and embrace that we all are beautiful, and to never allow anyone to tell us otherwise.

Mark Zuckerberg wrapped up his talk during the Facebook Friends Day by sharing the company philosophy to everyone.  Even if Facebook has already more than 1 billion subscribers, there are still 7 billion people all over the world who has no access to all the meaningful connections and information that Facebook can bring.  One thing that Facebook stands by is that "things are always 1% completed".  It keeps the whole Facebook team grounded, reminding each and everyone that there is always so much work, growth, and progress to be done, and so many people to reach out to and help.

For Abby, everything about the Facebook Friends Day trip was overwhelming and insipiring.  More than anything else, this activity reminder her again about her "responsibility" in the society.  Abby is grateful that Facebook has become a medium for her to communicate about disease awareness and touch people beyond the confines of her tiny room and her country.  Abby is also glad that she and Rachel are two out of the millions of people choosing to recognize the importance of social media in contributing to making this world  better place, and actually doing something about it.  Abby knows that she wouldn't be handpicked for this once-in-a-lifetime event if not with God's help and also for those people who have cared and showed her support for her advocacy.  


Mark Zuckerberg and the lucky 18 during the Facebook Friends Day meet-up
Abby shared a positive thought to everyone that we should really take the time to search for and identify our "purpose" in life--the one that is unique, very specific calling that results from our own talents, dreams, desires, passions, and experiences.  Once we were able to find it, be faithful to it no matter how long or difficult the journey towards its fulfillment may be.  You'll never know where it could lead to, how fair could go, and how large it could grow.  

Truly, God plans the best adventures and creates the most beautiful surprises to each and every one.  We are all given our own platforms, in Facebook's case "accounts and connections", to make a dent in this world.  It is up to us to become complacent and take these vehicles for granted, or maximize the opportunities and use them to make a positive impact in this generation.  

Abby is truly thankful that her campaign continues to spread and reach new heights and she is particularly grateful to Facebook for giving her this memorable opportunity and to Novuhair, Nature's Answer to Hair Loss (www.novuhair.com), for always being so supportive of her advocacy and endeavors.  Abby is proud and honored to have represented the Philippines and the alopecia community in this once-in-a-lifetime international event.



Abby Asistio for Novuhair



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