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Press Release Story

A 'Special' Day for Children at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Patients at Atlanta Hospital are First to Receive My Special Aflac Duck™

ATLANTA, Sept. 6, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at U.S. worksites, today delivered the very first My Special Aflac Ducks to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. My Special Aflac Duck, designed by Sproutel, is a social robot that uses medical play, lifelike movement and emotions to engage and help comfort kids during their cancer care. Today's inaugural delivery follows more than 18 months of child-centered research conducted with children, parents and medical providers at the Aflac Cancer Center.

Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos and 13 year old patient at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta admire the My Special Aflac Duck, a comforting robot designed to help children cope with cancer. The company made its first deliveries of the My Special Aflac Duck today with a goal of providing one to every newly diagnosed child, ages 3-13 in the United States.

"This is a great day for Aflac and for the children and families at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center in Atlanta as we deliver the first My Special Aflac Ducks," Aflac Chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. "This is a wonderful way to engage our iconic Aflac Duck in the fight against childhood cancer in a way that will help make kids happy. The entire Aflac family, our employees and independent agents are thrilled to make this very special delivery today."

At the delivery event, attendees were treated to a demonstration of My Special Aflac Duck, showcasing how it will help comfort children and serve as a tool for health care professionals to help their patients through difficult treatments. After the demonstration, children and their parents were sent on a fun scavenger hunt, finding clues and visiting various locations throughout the hospital, eventually leading them to the discovery of their very own My Special Aflac Duck.

"The first chance to see My Special Aflac Duck in the arms of patients makes today a red letter day. To expand the Aflac Duck's role to that of a tangible companion through the cancer journey of brave and special patients here and beyond is a wonderful opportunity for our duck and for Aflac," The Aflac Foundation, Inc. President Kathelen Amos said.

Later this year, Aflac will expand its My Special Aflac Duck campaign to hospitals across the country, providing a My Special Aflac Duck to any newly diagnosed child, ages 3-13, free of charge.

In addition to My Special Aflac Duck, Sproutel has created a companion app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play. The app can be downloaded on smartphones and tablets free of charge. Additional features of My Special Aflac Duck include:

  • Emotional expression: Seven RFID-enabled feeling cards help children communicate; the duck acts out a given feeling when that feeling card is tapped to its chest.
  • Medical and nurturing play: A chemotherapy port allows children to mirror their care experiences via play, giving them a sense of control during the process. The duck's no-cost companion app allows users to "bathe" it, "feed" it and give it "medicine" via augmented reality.
  • Music, dancing and nuzzling: The duck dances when music is played. Customizable sounds include gentle waves, wind and a farm.
  • Breathing and heartbeat: The duck produces a naturalistic heartbeat and deep breathing, which caregivers can incorporate into calming routines and exercises.
  • Batteries and accessories: Provided so it is ready to use out of the box.
  • Convenience: A removable skin, which can be washed to adhere to hospital hygiene standards.

"Thanks to companies like Aflac, we have come incredibly far in treating pediatric cancer over the past two decades, with more children growing up to lead happy and productive lives than ever before," said Douglas K. Graham, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "But whether it is a child or an adult, treatments for cancer can be very traumatic for patients and their families. My Special Aflac Duck will help by providing comfort through play. We are grateful for Aflac and its continued dedication to not only fund treatments and research, but also for the authentic way that they care from the highest levels of the company to the newest employees."

Since 1995, Aflac has contributed more than $125 million to the pediatric cancer cause, including more than $500,000 donated each month by 17,000 independent agents licensed to sell Aflac products. The funds are committed directly from their monthly commission checks. To see My Special Aflac Duck in action and to learn more about this important cause, please visit AflacChildhoodCancer.org.

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 contact –      Jon Sullivan, 706.763.4813 or jsullivan@aflac.com

Aflac analyst and investor contactDavid A. Young, 706.596.3264 or 800.235.2667, FAX 706.324.6330, or dyoung@aflac.com

SOURCE Aflac