My Special Aflac Duck® Helps Bring Joy to Young Patients Diagnosed With Cancer and Sickle Cell Disease at Nicklaus Children's Hospital in South Florida

To mark Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, Aflac surprised young patients with its award-winning social robot, designed to play, engage and connect with children with cancer and sickle cell disease
Sep 8, 2022 10:00 AM ET

Originally published on Aflac Newsroom

MIAMI, September 8, 2022 /3BL Media/ -- September marks Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and to encompass activities designed to bring attention to these diseases, Aflac delivered My Special Aflac Ducks to young patients with pediatric cancer and sickle cell disease at Nicklaus Children's Hospital.

In collaboration with Aflac Incorporated, the leading provider of supplemental health insurance in the U.S.,1 Nicklaus Children's Hospital hosted a special duck delivery and unboxing event at the hospital's main campus, where patients received a My Special Aflac Duck, free of charge, as part of Aflac's philanthropic commitment to support children with cancer and blood disorders.

My Special Aflac Duck is an award-winning social robot designed to be a cuddly companion that helps bring comfort and joyful moments to children with these conditions. In consultation with more than 100 children, families and medical professionals, Aflac, along with Sproutel, a patient-centered research and development company in Providence, Rhode Island, 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 then, Aflac has donated and distributed more than 17,000 My Special Aflac Ducks to more than 450 hospitals and disease-focused organizations.

"Aflac is a committed ally to children with cancer and blood disorders, and we continue to make it our mission to expand the reach of My Special Aflac Duck to help bring young patients and their families comfort and joy in the moments they need it most," said Ines Rodriguez Gutzmer, vice president, Strategic Communications, Aflac Incorporated. "We are proud to provide this award-winning offering, free of charge, to Miami-based families facing these diseases and to see the smiles on their faces as they welcome a new friend on their journey."

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. After significant research and development, in early 2022, Aflac introduced My Special Aflac Duck with accessories designed specifically for sickle cell patients.

"We are honored to join forces with Aflac and take part in the My Special Aflac Duck program as a way to further support our young patients receiving treatment for cancer and sickle cell disease," said Jennifer McCafferty-Fernandez, Ph.D., senior vice president of external affairs and chief of staff, Nicklaus Children's Health System. "We know these fun and cuddly companions are sure to enhance the care experience for the children and families we serve."

Health care providers, support organizations and families seeking to order My Special Aflac Duck for their children or patients 3 years or older who have been diagnosed with cancer or sickle cell disease may do so by visiting All My Special Aflac Ducks are provided and delivered free of charge.

Founded in 1950 by Variety Clubs International, Nicklaus Children's Hospital is South Florida's only licensed specialty hospital exclusively for children, with approximately 800 attending physicians, including more than 500 pediatric subspecialists. The 309-bed hospital, known as Miami Children's Hospital from 1983 through 2014, is renowned for excellence in all aspects of pediatric medicine with many specialty programs routinely ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report since 2008. In the 2022-2023 ranking, the hospital tied with two other hospitals as the number one children's hospital in Florida. The hospital is also home to the largest pediatric teaching program in the southeastern United States and since 2003 has been designated an American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) Magnet facility, the nursing profession's most prestigious institutional honor. For more information, please visit

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 orñol. Investors may learn more about Aflac Incorporated and its commitment to ESG and social responsibility at under "Sustainability."

Media contact:
Ines Gutzmer, 706.763.3076, 762.207.7601 or
Jon Sullivan, 706-763-4813 or

Analyst and investor contact: David A. Young, 706-596-3264, 800-235-2667 or

1 LIMRA 2021 US Supplemental Health Insurance Total Market Report

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