Free of charge resource My Special Aflac Duck® helps comfort 50 pediatric cancer and sickle cell patients in Louisiana
COLUMBUS, Ga., Sept. 15, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the No. 1 provider of supplemental health insurance products in the U.S.1 and proud supporter of families dealing with childhood cancer and blood disorders like sickle cell, delivered 50 of their award winning My Special Aflac Ducks for children with cancer and sickle cell disease at Children's Hospital New Orleans. The duck delivery event occurred during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, an annual effort Aflac participates in to raise awareness and funding for these two important causes.
"The My Special Aflac Duck program has done an incredible job providing comfort to children with cancer and to kids with sickle cell disease during a time they need it the most," said Aflac Louisiana Market Director Eddie Martina II. "At Aflac's core, we are committed to helping children and their families impacted by these diseases and are grateful to work with our partners in Louisiana to provide this resource free of charge, helping make a difference in the lives of these families."
The award-winning, social robot uses medical play, lifelike movement and mimics emotions to engage and help comfort kids during their cancer or sickle cell disease journey. It was developed after more than 18 months of research with children, families and health care providers to help children cope with their treatments. Features of My Special Aflac Duck include an interactive mobile app that allows children to virtually bathe and feed their duck, customizable soundscapes that provide soothing visuals and sounds, smart sensors that enable touch and awareness of light and sounds, and a calming heartbeat and breathing vibrations. To help children express themselves, the duck also comes with seven feelings emoji discs that, when tapped to a sensor on the duck's chest, prompt My Special Aflac Duck to emulate each emotion.
"Care plans for children with cancer or blood disorders, such as sickle cell disease, can involve frequent procedures, clinic or infusion visits, and hospitalizations, which can lead to stress and anxiety for these patients," said Dr. Dana LeBlanc, hematologist/oncologist at Children's Hospital New Orleans' Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders. "We are grateful for the potential positive impact that this innovative resource offers for our children with sickle cell."
Aflac, along with Sproutel, debuted My Special Aflac Duck in 2018 as part of its 27-year, $161-plus million commitment to childhood cancer and blood disorders, including sickle cell disease. Since the program's inception, Aflac has delivered more than 17,000 My Special Aflac Ducks in 450 hospitals and disease-focused organizations, free of charge to patients ages 3 and above.
"We are grateful to Aflac for not only tailoring My Special Aflac Duck to help meet the specific needs of sickle cell patients, but also delivering them to our clients in south Louisiana," said Erin Fullbright, executive director of Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana. "Sickle cell patients are often forgotten and not given the same resources as other chronic diseases. Knowing our patients suffer just as much and seeing Aflac's support for the sickle cell community firsthand means everything. Going to the hospital for a pain crisis or even for their monthly visit can be a lot for children. Having their own duck during these tough times will be comforting for the families."
Recipients at the Louisiana event participated in a My Special Aflac Duck demonstration before beginning an exciting scavenger hunt to meet their very own robotic companion. Following the hunt, patients and their families celebrated the new friendship through various activities like creating a birth certificate and beaded necklace for their duck, coloring and more.
Health care providers, support organizations and families can order My Special Aflac Duck for their children or patients 3 years or older who have been diagnosed with cancer or sickle cell disease at https://myduck.sproutel.com/family/request.
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., 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. In the U.S., Aflac is the number one provider of supplemental health insurance products.1 Aflac Life Insurance Japan is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance in Japan, where it insures 1 in 4 households. In 2021, Aflac Incorporated was proud to be included as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere for the 16th consecutive year. Also in 2021, the company was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and became a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In 2022, Aflac Incorporated was included on Fortune's list of World's Most Admired Companies for the 21st time and Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index for the third consecutive year. To find out how to get help with expenses health insurance doesn't cover, get to know us at aflac.com or aflac.com/español. Investors may learn more about Aflac Incorporated and its commitment to ESG and social responsibility at investors.aflac.com under "Sustainability."
Children's Hospital is a 257-bed, non-profit academic pediatric medical center that offers comprehensive healthcare services, including over 40 pediatric specialties, delivered just for children. With more than 600 pediatric providers, Children's offers a comprehensive array of pediatric healthcare services in Louisiana and the Gulf South. In addition to its main campus located in New Orleans, the hospital operates a network of specialty clinics across Louisiana, including in Covington, Baton Rouge, Alexandria, Lafayette, and Bay St. Louis, MS. Children's offers primary care services at 12 convenient locations and remotely via its Virtual Care for Kids program. Children's is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based, not-for-profit hospital system which also includes New Orleans East Hospital, Touro, University Medical Center New Orleans, West Jefferson Medical Center, and East Jefferson General Hospital. Learn more at chnola.org.
Sickle Cell is a painful genetic blood disorder impacting more than 100,000 people in the United States. With 2.5 million carrying the trait, it is the most commonly inherited blood disorder in the country. Newborns can be tested at birth, but others can be tested through a blood test. Last year marked 45 YEARS of the Association's service in several parishes in the state of Louisiana. SCASL is the only organization whose mission is to provide supportive medical and social services to people living with sickle cell disease in these areas.
1 LIMRA 2021 US Supplemental Health Insurance Total Market Report
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