Flocks of award-winning robotic ducks to the Big Easy

Flocks of award-winning robotic ducks to the Big Easy

Posted 2 hours ago

Proposed by Afla Incorporated

Free My Special Aflac Duck® Resource Helps Comfort Pediatric Cancer and Sickle Cell Patients in Louisiana

Originally posted on Aflac Newsroom

COLUMBUS, Ga., Sept. 20, 2022 /CSRwire/ — Aflac, the leading provider of supplemental health insurance products in the United States1 and proud supporter of families struggling with childhood cancer and blood disorders like sickle cell disease, delivered 50 of their My special Aflac ducks for children with cancer and sickle cell disease at New Orleans Children’s Hospital. The duck delivery event took place during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, an annual effort Aflac participates in to raise awareness and fund these two important causes.

“The My special Aflac duck has done an amazing job of bringing comfort to children with cancer and children with sickle cell disease during a time when they need it most,” said Eddie Martina II, market manager for Aflac in Louisiana. “At the heart of Aflac, we are committed to helping children and their families impacted by these illnesses and are grateful to work with our partners in Louisiana to provide this resource free of charge, helping to make a difference in the lives of these families.

The award-winning social robot uses medical play, realistic movement and mimics emotions to engage and help comfort children on their cancer or sickle cell journey. It was developed after more than 18 months of research with children, families and healthcare providers to help children cope with their treatments. The characteristics of My special Aflac duck include an interactive mobile app that lets kids virtually bathe and feed their duck, customizable soundscapes that provide soothing visuals and sounds, smart sensors that enable touch and awareness of light and sound , as well as a soothing heartbeat and breathing vibrations. To help kids express themselves, the duck also comes with seven sentiment emoji discs which, when tapped on a sensor on the duck’s chest, prompt My special Aflac duck emulate every 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 in 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 this innovative resource offers to our children with sickle cell disease.”

Aflac, with Sprotel, made its debut My special Aflac duck in 2018 as part of its 27-year, more than $161 million commitment to childhood cancer and blood disorders, including sickle cell disease. Since the launch of the program, Aflac has delivered more than 17,000 My special Aflac ducks at 450 hospitals and disease-focused organizations, free for patients ages 3 and up.

“We are grateful to Aflac not only for adapting My special Aflac duck to help meet the specific needs of sickle cell patients, but also provide them to our South Louisiana customers,” said Erin Fullbright, executive director of the Sickle Cell Association of South Louisiana. “Sickle cell patients are often overlooked and don’t receive the same resources as other chronic diseases. Knowing that our patients are suffering just as much and seeing Aflac’s support for the sickle cell community means everything. Going to the hospital for a pain attack or even for their monthly visit can mean a lot to children. Having your own duck in these difficult times will be comforting for families.”

Recipients of the event in Louisiana participated in a My special Aflac duck demonstration before starting an exciting treasure hunt to meet their very own robotic companion. After the hunt, the patients and their families celebrated the new friendship through various activities like creating a birth certificate and bead necklace for their duck, coloring and more.

Healthcare providers, support organizations and families can order My Special Aflac Duck for their children or patients 3 years of age 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 that helps provide protection to more than 50 million people through its subsidiaries in Japan and the United States, paying fast cash when policyholders fall ill or get hurt. For more than six decades, Aflac Incorporated subsidiary insurance policies have given policyholders the ability to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leading 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 ranked among 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 to the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In 2022, Aflac Incorporated was on Fortune’s list of the World’s Most Admired Companies for the 21st time and on Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index for the third consecutive year. To find out how to get help with expenses not covered by health insurance, get to know us at aflac.com or aflac.com/español. Investors can learn more about Aflac Incorporated and its commitment to ESG and social responsibility at investor.aflac.com under “Sustainability”.


Children’s Hospital is a 257-bed nonprofit academic pediatric medical center that provides comprehensive health services, including more than 40 pediatric specialties, provided only to children. With more than 600 pediatric providers, Children’s offers a full range of pediatric health care services in Louisiana and the Southern Gulf. 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 in 12 convenient, remote locations through its Virtual Care for Kids program. Children’s is a proud member of LCMC Health, a Louisiana-based nonprofit hospital system that 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 disease is a painful genetic blood disease that affects more than 100,000 people in the United States. With 2.5 million people carrying the trait, it is the most common inherited blood disorder in the country. Newborns can be tested at birth, but others can be tested with a blood test. Last year marked 45 YEARS of Association service in several parishes in the State of Louisiana. SCASL is the only organization whose mission is to provide medical and social support services to people living with sickle cell disease in these areas.

1 LIMRA 2021 U.S. Supplementary Health Insurance Total Market Report

Media contact: Jon Sullivan, 706-763-4813 or jsullivan@aflac.com

Contact analysts and investors: David A. Young, 706-596-3264, 800-235-2667 or dyoung@aflac.com

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Afla Incorporated

Afla Incorporated

Aflac is a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured becomes ill or injured, Aflac pays cash benefits fairly, quickly and directly to the insured. For more than six decades, Aflac voluntary insurance policies have given policyholders the ability to focus on recovery, not financial stress.

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