If you’re going to get a celebrity endorsement for your campaign, think big... then think even bigger. Perhaps someone like Facebook supremo Mark Zuckerberg, who is exactly the person Filipino singer/songwriter Abby Asistio managed to snare to help raise awareness for Alopecia Areata.
This autoimmune disorder, which affects between 1-2 per cent of the population during their lifetime, usually leads to patchy hair loss, though it can sometimes lead to more dramatic baldness that affects the whole scalp or entire body. While awareness of the disorder is certainly growing thanks to support groups and media coverage, many people with the condition - which affects men, women and children - say they are frequently assumed to be cancer patients. At an already difficult time of their lives, being stared at, whispered about and seeing people assume that they are seriously ill only adds to their woes.
Zuckerberg’s contribution to Alopecia Areata awareness came about when he posed for a photo with Abby and her friend when the pair were invited to Facebook’s Menlo Park HQ in San Francisco. In the image, the American billionaire is seen performing the double-A (#AlopeciaAwareness) hand sign that the singer started in 2012. At the time of writing, the image had amassed almost 1,000 likes on Abby’s Facebook page.
Abby’s friend in the photograph is a Californian named Rachel Regal: she also has Alopecia Areata and is part of the reason that she and Abby were in the Facebook head office in the first place.
The pair had been among a group of 20 people who were invited along to the social media giants' HQ for an event the company had named Friends Day, having previously found themselves on the Facebook radar when they were featured on Facebook Stories, a stand-alone website that “celebrates the connections people make on Facebook.” The story of how Abby and Rachel met and supported each other through the social networking site is the subject of a moving and emotional video there.
In her caption alongside the photograph she posted on Facebook, Abby writes: “Still dumbfounded. I swear, God makes the most beautiful surprises and plans the best adventures. Thank you, Lord. This has YOU written all over it.”
Both Rachel and Abby, pictured, decided not to wear wigs to hide their baldness. Abby stopped wearing hers in 2012 and explained how her decision came about in a recent interview with Refinery 29.
"I made the decision to lose the wig and write a song that spoke about my hair loss journey. On September 25, 2012, I had a concert for Alopecia Awareness called Stripped, sang my song, 'Beautiful,' and showed everyone my shiny, bald head for the very first time," she told the website.
"It was such a liberating experience. Along with stripping my head of the wigs and bandanas came the stripping of my soul letting go of all my fears, doubts, and insecurities as regards to not having hair. It was like some sort of rebirth. I'm meant to make a stand for this disease and help others rise above it."
Rachel's daughter was also diagnosed with Alopecia Areata when she was just six years old but, now aged eight, she is happy to be experiencing natural "rapid" regrowth.
Indeed, in the majority of cases the hair follicles do recover and resume the growth cycle naturally. However, whether this will happen - or when - cannot be predicted, and for many people this may not be the case.
For people aged 16 and over with moderate, patchy Alopecia Areata there are treatment options available which have produced a wide number of success stories for Belgravia clients wanting help to regrow their hair.
Alopecia Areata treatment courses feature topical applications of high strength minoxidil - a medication which is clinically-proven for treating genetic hair loss but which our specialists have experienced many impressive outcomes when using this for other hair loss conditions, too.
Furthermore, hair loss experts are able to make sure that a client is properly diagnosed and that full consideration is paid to their condition's underlying causes, which could be anything from stress to allergies.
The Belgravia Centre is a world-renowned group of a hair loss clinic in Central London, UK. If you are worried about hair loss you can arrange a free consultation with a hair loss expert or complete our Online Consultation from anywhere in the world for home-use treatment.
View our Hair Loss Success Stories, which includes the world's largest gallery of hair growth photos and demonstrates the level of success that so many of Belgravia's patients achieve.