Health & Recipes, Sickle Cell Disease
A companion for children with sickle cell disease

A New Companion for Children With Sickle Cell Disease

This post is sponsored by Aflac, Inc.. All opinions are my own. Visit Aflacs page for childhood cancer  and sickle cell disease to learn more about My Special Aflac Duck® and Aflacs commitment to sickle cell disease. 

In February 2015, I stood next to my daughter's hospital bed. The room was cold, medical devices beeped, but she was looking up at me smiling. Lai received a new diagnosis that she had an autoimmune disease in addition to having sickle cell disease (SCD). However, she smiled because the nurse gave her a backpack with a book and teddy bear named Rufus. Now, in 2021, she still has her bear and book. These gifts made a huge difference in how she coped with her care, and even years later, they remain a part of her story. 

AD. Aflac is expanding its My Special Aflac Duck program to help children facing sickle cell disease. Components of My Special Aflac Duck are being modified and expanded to include accessories, packaging, and App functions specific to sickle cell patients.

My Dream For Children With Sickle Cell Disease

In September, I was proud to recognize National Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and now I'm thrilled to partner with Aflac to help drive continued awareness and support for patients facing these diseases. Thanks to Aflac, children living with sickle cell disease will soon be able to receive their own My Special Aflac Duck – a social robotic companion initially designed to help young patients during their cancer care free of charge. Aflac is expanding the program to help support children who have sickle cell disease with new tools to help meet their unique needs. It will be available early next year, free of charge. For me as a parent, it's a dream come true for children with SCD.

Currently, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is only one FDA-approved therapy to treat children with SCD younger than 12, and there is no universal cure.

When My Special Aflac Duck arrived at our home, I showed my 12-year-old daughter and her face lit up with excitement. She loves how fuzzy and cuddly the duck is and enjoys playing with the interactive app. It also comes with a set of emoji cards that cause the duck to act out a variety of emotions when pressed against its chest. She told me, “The emojis make it easy to share how I’m feeling when I may be hurting too much to talk.”

Ad. Aflac is expanding its My Special Aflac Duck program to help children facing sickle cell disease. Components of My Special Aflac Duck are being modified and expanded to include accessories, packaging, and App functions specific to sickle cell patients.

What's Different About My Special Aflac Duck?

Aflac teamed up with Sproutel to create My Special Aflac Duck in 2018. This social robot is designed with different features to help children communicate with their caregivers and express their feelings better, sometimes demonstrating what they’re experiencing when they don't have the words to describe what they are going through emotionally.

Ad. Aflac is expanding its My Special Aflac Duck program to help children facing sickle cell disease. Components of My Special Aflac Duck are being modified and expanded to include accessories, packaging, and App functions specific to sickle cell patients.

My Special Aflac Duck is fantastic for children and their caregivers. Don't just take my word for it. Watch this video to get a better understanding of the duck and how it’s already making a difference. 

 

As part of Aflac’s commitment to sickle cell disease, the company plans to distribute My Special Aflac Duck to SCD patients early next year, free of charge. Components of the duck will be modified and expanded to include accessories, packaging and app functions specific to sickle cell patients. Watch this video to get a sneak peek at the new duck from its creator. 

 

Have a child with cancer or sickle cell? 

Do you want your child to receive a My Special Aflac Duck? Feel free to share this post and help spread awareness. Authorized professionals at licensed health care facilities can order My Special Aflac Duck, which Time Magazine called one of the best 50 inventions of 2018, free of charge to give to pediatric cancer patients above the age of 3 to own and use during their cancer care by completing an online form here. 

Click here to sign up to receive an email when the duck is available for children with sickle cell disease.

About  My Special Aflac Duck 

My Special Aflac Duck is a cornerstone initiative of Aflac's 25+ year, $155 million philanthropic commitment to children with cancer and blood disorders. Through the Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign™, the company aims to help provide support and resources to families facing these diseases.

 

Visit AflacChildhoodCancer.org and Aflac.com/SickleCell to learn more.

Ad. Aflac is expanding its My Special Aflac Duck program to help children facing sickle cell disease. Components of My Special Aflac Duck are being modified and expanded to include accessories, packaging, and App functions specific to sickle cell patients.

In addition to their interactive, supportive tool, which Aflac aims to get in the hands of every child ages 3+ diagnosed with cancer, free of charge, the company is dedicated to funding research and treatment for both childhood cancer and sickle cell disease.

Visit AflacChildhoodCancer.org and Aflac.com/SickleCell to learn more.

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