COLUMBUS, Ga., Sept. 4, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and Aflac, a leading provider of supplemental insurance and products in the U.S., is set to commemorate the month, including honoring the health care heroes who care for, educate and support childhood cancer patients and their families. Among other initiatives, the company has invested in new additions to its award-winning My Special Aflac Duck® program and has been conducting a yearlong social media campaign to honor 25 individuals treated throughout the 25-year history of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.
"The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center has been a constant North Star for our company for 25 years and continues to instill pride for our employees and our independent field force, which gives so generously so that these precious children receive the highest level of care that they need and deserve," said The Aflac Foundation, Inc. President Kathelen Amos. "From its beginnings in 1995 as a fine regional pediatric cancer program, the Aflac Cancer Center, whose dedicated doctors, nurses and health care professionals work tirelessly to innovate and improve care for children and their families, is now one of America's top-10 childhood cancer facilities, according to U.S. News and World Report. This National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month we pledge to continue our ongoing commitment to finding cures and providing more hope to more families."
"I have been chief executive officer of Aflac Incorporated for 30 years, and in that time, we have seen the company grow from a successful insurance company into an international industry leader with $22 billion in annual revenues, but nothing we have done over that time period is more meaningful than raising awareness of childhood cancer, supporting the Aflac Cancer Center for 25 years and growing the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign into what it is today," said Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos. "We continue to be humbled by the work done at the Cancer Center and by the dedicated support of our employees and independent agents. Our goal remains to see a time when all kids have the opportunity to live a long, healthy life."
During the month-long celebration, Aflac will pay tribute to frontline workers helping children facing cancer, beginning with the Aflac Childhood Cancer Foundation awarding $2,500 grants to 10 child life programs across the U.S. to commemorate Aflac's 25-year history of supporting the cause. The grants, which are in addition to Aflac's ongoing $146 million support for childhood cancer, are the result of careful selection of recipients chosen among nearly 60 applicants.
"Child life professionals are the unsung heroes in the fight against childhood cancer," said Kerry Hand, president of the Aflac Childhood Cancer Foundation. "They are the frontline workers who have incredible resolve in their mission to make each child's experience better. Their impact on the pediatric oncology family support system is immeasurable, and we are proud and pleased to provide these grants that will help them improve the services they provide."
This month, Aflac is also introducing the latest innovation for My Special Aflac Duck, a robotic duck designed to help children cope with cancer. The company again teamed up with Sproutel, a patient-centered design studio, to create a new care kit that includes medical play accessories that child life specialists can use as part of their program to help children cope with their treatments. Although the new play accessories were originally intended solely for child life specialists, the company decided to include them in future My Special Aflac Duck orders for all child cancer patients, as well. To date, Aflac has provided more than 9,000 My Special Aflac Ducks to children ages 3 and over at more than 270 hospitals and childhood cancer organizations across the nation.
"When we saw the new medical play accessories, we knew children would love them, so we are making the investment to include them with all of the new ducks we distribute," Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and Communications Officer Catherine Hernandez-Blades said. "The kits include a faux pulse oximeter, thermometer, syringe and stethoscope to help pediatric cancer patients emulate the treatments they receive along with their duck, making them feel more comfortable and familiar with procedures they may encounter on their journey. Also, instead of arriving in a backpack, My Special Aflac Duck will now arrive in a case that doubles as an MRI machine, so children can engage in medical play prior to going through the procedure themselves."
To further commemorate National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Aflac is celebrating its 25th year of supporting childhood cancer by celebrating 25 childhood cancer heroes through its "25 for 25" Facebook campaign. The company will also recognize four special pediatric cancer survivors treated at the Aflac Cancer Center and who are now health care providers at the very hospital at which they were treated as children.
Aflac is offering special merchandise such as the Childhood Cancer Awareness collectible plush duck lauding the medical professionals who support these courageous children. This year's 6-inch plush duck sells for $10, with 100% of net proceeds going to The Aflac Childhood Cancer Foundation to benefit pediatric cancer programs at participating hospitals around the country. This and other merchandise are available at AflacChildhoodCancer.org.
In addition, Aflac will launch its "Do Good" community newsletter for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, spotlighting insights, ideas and individuals making a difference in the pediatric cancer community.
To learn more about these programs and Aflac's decades-long commitment to pediatric cancer research and treatment, visit AflacChildhoodCancer.org.
About Aflac Incorporated
Aflac Incorporated (NYSE: AFL) is a Fortune 500 company, helping provide protection to more than 50 million people through its subsidiaries in Japan and the U.S., where it is a leading supplemental insurer by paying cash fast when policyholders get sick or injured. For more than six decades, insurance policies of Aflac Incorporated's subsidiaries have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. Aflac Life Insurance Japan is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance in Japan where it insures 1 in 4 households. For 14 consecutive years, Aflac Incorporated has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2020, Fortune included Aflac Incorporated on its list of World's Most Admired Companies for the 19th time, and Bloomberg added Aflac Incorporated to its Gender-Equality Index, which tracks the financial performance of public companies committed to supporting gender equality through policy development, representation and transparency. To find out how to get help with expenses health insurance doesn't cover, get to know us at aflac.com or aflac.com/espanol.
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