Monday, May 2, 2011

The Power of Facebook

Over the past few years, Facebook has gotten a bad name.  The company has a habit of changing the way it uses information it gathers from its members which has caused some ruffled feathers, to say the least.  While I’m not a fan of the way that Facebook handles its “feature” changes, it really does provide a platform that I find fascinating.

During the past year that I’ve been actively using Facebook, I’ve rekindled old high school and grade school friendships.  I’ve watched Facebook reunite a group of former high school students, spanning graduation years from 1960-2011, for a last game ever in a high school gym, and I’ve witnessed the kindness of others as homes were found for several abandoned dogs.

But nothing could prepare me for what happened last week.

A very dear friend of mine has a 7 year old daughter, Olivia.  Olivia, her 12 year old brother, and their parents live on the eastern coast of Florida.  In February, Olivia was diagnosed with a form of bone cancer and began a series of chemotherapy treatments in March in preparation for surgery to remove the growth.

As you can imagine, the chemo treatments have been brutal to Olivia’s tiny body – she’s lost her hair and can no longer attend school because her immune system is so fragile.  She can’t go swimming and she can’t have visitors either.

In an effort to boost Olivia’s spirits, her parents help her to Skype her friends and family.  Others have made cards, blankets, gifts - sent food and much needed prayers.

Olivia is a “huge” Disney princess fan.  She loves all the princesses, but Belle, from Beauty and the Beast, is her favorite.

Being close to 900 miles away from Olivia and reading about her daily treatment progress through CaringBridge, I thought, “Wouldn’t it be nice if Belle could Skype Olivia?” 

Not having any luck with the corporate Disney website as to how I might make that happen, I turned to my Facebook friends and simply asked…..can anyone help?  Within 24 hours I had responses from four friends who knew someone who could possibly help to make it happen.  Although the details haven’t been finalized, the wheels are in motion and I anticipate that within another week, we will have either had Belle Skype Olivia or at the very least Olivia will receive a letter from Belle.  She may also receive a Skype visit from princess Jasmine. 

None of this would have been possible without Facebook, well, and the kindness of people. 

So, while Facebook continues to grow and learn how to maneuver through this new world of social networking it has helped to create, I plan to remain a member and tip my hat to them for bringing the world a little closer together. 


  1. I’m a fellow Wordcount Blogathon participant and am checking out some of the first posts and seeing if anything catches my attention.

    I really wanted to say thanks for sharing this story about Facebook. I’m someone who really doesn’t like Facebook because of the constant privacy changes and don’t use it. However, this was a great story of the benefit of Facebook. I also think that is a lot about Disney as a business. Fingers crossed that Olivia does well.

  2. Tears to my eyes! I joined fb a few years ago to keep connected to my 2 older kids who were away at college. Now I play a bit on it - post any new article I've written or blog entry.

    That is a fabulous story. Have you written a piece on it for the newspaper? (me, too, a blogathoner)

  3. What a wonderful story! Thanks for sharing this, and please do keep your blog updated with news as this continues to develop. I'd love to hear about the Skype calls.

    (Another Blogathoner here...)

  4. Facebook helped me to connect with my estranged daughter. For a lot of reasons, we weren't part of each others lives for many years. This has changed recently, and without Facebook I don't know as it would have happened when it did.

    Great first post. Great story. I'll be back.

    You can find me here:
    Day 2 Post

    I am unable to select a profile that will direct you to my blog. I am likewise a blogathonner.

  5. What a sweet and moving story. I think any tool in the right hands can produce beautiful things. Unfortunately we hear more stories about how it goes wrong. Such a treat to hear a story about it going right!

  6. Just realized I can comment back one here...oh boy, bare with me. :) This is probably not the "right" way to do this, but here it goes anyway.....

    @Susan - yes, if this works, I think it will say volumes about Disney! We'll see? And thank you for thinking of Olivia.

    @Jan - no, I haven't written about Olivia for our newspaper only because I primarily cover education and I'm just a part timer. The editor would probably frown upon it anyway. :( He's a traditional "NEWS" guy.

    @Jennifer - I promise to keep you updated.

    @Radio Nowhere - you've got a great story there in itself. That's just warms my heart that you found each other and your relationship is growing. Congratulations and kudos once again to the power of Facebook!

    @ Bach - I completely agree. Maybe my blog should be nothing but stories about the "good" in the world...hmmmm, you have me thinking now.