Abby Asistio meets Mark Zuckerberg for the 12th Anniversary of Facebook

12:44:00 PM

Facebook celebrated its 12th anniversary last January 31, 2016 with yet another Friends Day celebration at San Francisco. The event usually picks 18 invited guest that includes 6 people with amazing stories to share. Out of 1.64 billion users of Facebook, a fellow Filipino, Abby Asistio and a California-based Alopecia awareness advocate, Rachel Regal were chosen to be part of this yearly gathering. Both have Alopecia, an autoimmune condition that leads to partial or total head and hair body loss. Abby have had it since she was 4 years old while Rachel just experienced it last 2012, wherein she also discovered that her 10 year old daughter, Eliana, had it as well.

The two women met each other through the Double A Hand Sign Campaign that Abby started back in 2012, and they've been "connected" since then. Last year, the story of their friendship and their awareness campaign was featured on Facebook. And just last February 1, 2016, both had the chance to tour the Facebook Headquarters in Menlo Park, San Francisco, meet and chat with the creators of Facebook (Founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg, COO Sheryl Sandberg, CPO Chris Cox, and a whole lot of awesome people), get super cool gadgets and have the best experiences of their lives.

As Abby share her experience that day, she explains how surreal her feeling was knowing that she was in the same room as the creator of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg. She described how Mark was actually not intimidating as the guy is very simple wearing his trademark outfit (jeans, sneakers and shirt plus a big smile). He was friendly, approachable and demeanor as described by Abby. 

During the event, Mark Zuckerberg shared his story about how the company started, its mission and vision, the ups and downs that they had to experience, and also the future plans they have for Facebook. Attendees were also given the chance to ask Mark Zuckerberg. He was asked about his thought on achieving success and life's "impossibilities" and he politely replied, "There’s a difference between impossible and things taking a really long time. Even if you’re 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."

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, one of the world's 50 most powerful and successful women in the business, was also asked questions. Abby Asistio who is also an active Real Beauty advocate for girls and women who struggle with various insecurities asked Sheryl what her perception was about the issue and she answered, "beauty is just like success and that no one could really define it for you.  We are all unique.  We have different stories, dreams and desires. We should explore our own inner and outer beauty, believe and embrace that we are beautiful, and never allow anyone to tell us otherwise."

Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, ended his talk by sharing their company's philosophy. With over 1 billion subscribers, there are still around 7 billion people that cannot access to the meaningful connections and information that Facebook brings. One thing that their company believes in is that "things are always 1% completed" and this keeps them grounded and constantly reminds them to continuously work hard to achieve growth and progress that can lead them to reach out and help more people. 

This once in a lifetime opportunity was indeed overwhelming and inspiring according to Abby Asistio. It jump started her to embrace her "responsibility" more. That everyone is given his/her own platform, in this case "accounts and connection", to make a dent in this world. It is up to that individual if he/she would do something with the tools on hand and grab the opportunity to make a good difference in this generation or do none. Abby is very grateful that Facebook had become a medium for her to communicate disease awareness and be able to inspire people beyond the confines of her tiny room and her country. Abby is also very thankful that she and Rachel are two out of millions of people that recognize the importance of social media in contributing to making this world better and really does something about it.

God really plans the best adventures and creates the most beautiful surprises. Abby believes that she wouldn't get picked in this event if it weren't for him, as well as the individuals who showed support to her advocacy. To leave a positive note to all, she shared that we should really take time to search for and identify our "purpose" which is that one unique, very specific calling that is the result of our talents, dreams, desires, passions and experiences. Once you 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 far it could go and how large it could grow. 

Lastly, she is beyond words on how to thank Facebook for giving her the opportunity to make her campaign spread and reach new heights and to Novuhair (Nature's answer to Hair loss) for always being supportive of her advocacy and endeavors. She is truly proud and honored to have represented Philippines and the Alopecia community in this once in a lifetime international event.

You might want to check out Abby Asistio's song for Facebook Friends Day:

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