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Press Release Story

Aflac Commemorates National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month With Help From Country Music Stars Chris Young and Chase Bryant, Company Kicks Off Latest Innovative Program in 23-Year Commitment to Children and Families Facing Childhood Cancer

COLUMBUS, Ga., Sept. 4, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at U.S. worksites, announced today a full slate of activities to honor children and families facing childhood cancer during September, which is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

11 year old Teryn Buster, a patient at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta cuddles with the My Special Aflac Duck, a comforting robot designed to help children cope with cancer. Aflac will be giving the My Special Aflac Duck to newly diagnosed children across the country, free of charge.

During this month-long focus on families, the company will begin delivering its latest innovation in childhood cancer support, My Special Aflac DuckTM, a robotic duck designed to help newly diagnosed children and families dealing with cancer. Aflac, a proud sponsor of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals®, currently has two September programs scheduled at affiliated hospitals in Atlanta and Columbia, South Carolina, where children will receive the very first My Special Aflac Ducks. As part of its ongoing Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign®, the company plans to distribute the comforting robots nationwide to children ages 3-13 who are diagnosed with cancer, free of charge when requested through a treating hospital.

Aflac will also observe Childhood Cancer Awareness Month by ringing the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Sept. 10 and through an appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America" on Sept. 14, which is when the network will recognize Stand Up To Cancer Day. During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Aflac will also unveil its 2017 Aflac Corporate Social Responsibility Report, celebrating the company's responsible and ethics-based actions and activities.

"As we near 25 years of our journey alongside children and their families in the fight against cancer, we are excited about the arrival of the "My Special Aflac Duck", and its ability to help provide new and unprecedented ways to support these brave children as they go through their treatment. The families and patients of the Aflac Cancer Center were and always will be "first in our hearts", but we are equally proud that the reach of this duck will extend to a broad patient population across our country."

When introduced to the world at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January, My Special Aflac Duck received top honors, including Best in Show and Tech for Good awards. It comes as the result of more than 18 months of child-centered research conducted by Sproutel, the company that invented My Special Aflac Duck.

"We are extremely excited about our ongoing Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign and, in particular, My Special Aflac Duck, because we know it will help bring comfort and joy to children with cancer, which is the goal of every Aflac employee and independent sales agent," Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. "While we look forward to the day when childhood cancer is cured, until that day comes, our commitment will remain strong to help provide comfort to children and deliver the resources that researchers and clinicians need to help make continuous progress against this disease."

Each month, approximately 17,000 independent agents licensed to sell Aflac products contribute more than $500,000 to the company's campaign to eradicate childhood cancer. The funds are committed directly from their monthly commission checks.

Others are rallying behind the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign this September, including country artists Chris Young and Chase Bryant, who participated in a special preview of My Special Aflac Duck for a group of children with cancer in Nashville, Tennessee. Powerful video footage captures the moment when the children received their first opportunity to interact with the robotic duck.

Below is a schedule of events for September:

Sept. 6, 2018: The first My Special Aflac Ducks will be delivered to children at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, including a ceremony and a fun scavenger hunt for children to find their very own My Special Aflac Duck. The event will be attended by company executives, dignitaries and invited guests.

Sept. 10, 2018: Aflac's CEO and other company executives will join pediatric patients from the Aflac Cancer Center to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange to commemorate National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the launch of My Special Aflac Duck. This event can be viewed on NYSE.com.

Sept. 14, 2018: My Special Aflac Duck will be featured on pre-taped segment of "Good Morning America" during the 8 a.m. hour. A short video, filmed at Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt – also a member of Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® – in Nashville, Tennessee, will debut including appearances by country music stars Chris Young and Chase Bryant interacting with children and My Special Aflac Duck.

Sept. 21, 2018: The second My Special Aflac Duck delivery ceremony will be held at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina. Patients at this event also will enjoy a treasure hunt to find their own My Special Aflac Duck.

"It was amazing to see these kids who are going through so much light up when we gave them their own My Special Aflac Duck," said Chris Young. "There was one young patient I met whose mother told me she has been struggling with her treatment, and to see her smile as she interacted with the duck made my day."

"Introducing My Special Aflac Duck to the kids was so rewarding," added Chase Bryant. "They lit up, and I am proud to be part of a mission that is close to my heart."

According to the National Cancer Institute, of all government funding that goes toward researching cancer, only 4 percent is allocated to pediatric cancer.

"Through ongoing research efforts, supported in part through generous donations from Aflac, we are continuing to improve the outcome for children with cancer," said Dr. Peter Adamson, chair of the Children's Oncology Group and member of the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign Advisory Council. "Yet, despite our progress, cancer remains the leading cause of death from disease in children in the U.S. and more than half of childhood cancer survivors experience long-term side effects from treatment. We continue to work to reduce the toxicity and physical, social and emotional burdens of treatment, but we need increased support for research to ensure that all children with cancer are cured and can lead long, healthy lives."

To see My Special Aflac Duck in action and to learn more about this important cause, please visit AflacChildhoodCancer.org. If you work at a licensed healthcare facility in the United States and would like to request authorization to order My Special Aflac Duck on behalf of your healthcare facility for pediatric cancer patients in your facility's care please visit AflacChildhoodCancer.org/MyDuck.

About Aflac
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For more than six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, for eligible claims, Aflac U.S. can process, approve and electronically send funds to claimants for quick access to cash in just one business day. In Japan, Aflac is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For 12 consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2018, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work for in America for the 20th consecutive year and included Aflac on its list of World's Most Admired Companies for the 17th time. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or aflac.com/espanol.

Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.

Aflac Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Aflac)

Media contactJon Sullivan, 706.763.4813 or jsullivan@aflac.com  

SOURCE Aflac