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Aflac's support of sickle cell disease and impact to date

The inspiration for Aflac's efforts to help address challenges brought on by sickle cell disease, in relation to larger disparities in pediatric health care, are largely centered on the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta:

  • The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center is the most prolific provider of sickle cell disease care in the United States, caring for over 2,000 pediatric patients each year and regularly performing the only cure for sickle cell disease: blood and marrow transplants.

Aflac's expanding commitment to address an unmet need

In 2018, Aflac teamed up with research and design studio Empath Labs to create My Special Aflac Duck® — a robotic companion originally designed for pediatric cancer patients to help them cope with often challenging treatments. My Special Aflac Duck is designed with unique features to provide comfort and joy through interactive technology and medical play. The ducks are provided — free of charge — to all children ages 3 and up undergoing such.

In 2020, with the notion of expanding the program to children with sickle cell disease, Aflac distributed My Special Aflac Ducks to over 100 sickle cell disease patients through a pilot program at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. At the same time, research was conducted to determine how to adapt My Special Aflac Duck for children with blood disorders and inform the expansion of its program to sickle cell disease patients with updates and coping mechanisms to help meet their unique needs, including features to:

  • Help kids recognize that they’re not alone in their lived experience.
  • Create positive associations with the treatment regimens to inspire adherence both in and out of the home.
  • Provide coping mechanisms anytime, anywhere, for anyone.

In February of 2022, Aflac debuted the fully customized My Special Aflac Duck specifically designed for distribution to sickle cell disease patients at participating facilities across the country. Housed in custom packaging, these tailored accessories include a warm blanket, port-IV adapter and a new digital experience on the accompanying app. Visit for more information and request yours today.