Cision PR Newswire

Award-winning My Special Aflac Duck® soars into Albuquerque to provide comfort and joy to children facing cancer and blood disorders

Kids receive special delivery of robotic Aflac ducks and enjoy a day of fun festivities during National Childhood Cancer and Sickle Cell Awareness Month

COLUMBUS, Ga., Sept. 25, 2023  /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the leading provider of supplemental health insurance products in the U.S.1 and proud supporter of families of children with cancer and blood disorders like sickle cell disease (SCD), today delivered its award-winning My Special Aflac Duck to children at The University of New Mexico Children's Hospital in Albuquerque. The duck delivery coincides with National Childhood Cancer Awareness and Sickle Cell Awareness Month, helping to bring attention to the challenges that children and families face when confronted with pediatric cancer or sickle cell disease.

The social robot uses medical play, lifelike movement and mimics emotions to engage and help comfort kids during their cancer or sickle cell disease journey. It was developed after more than 18 months of research with children, families and health care providers to help children cope with their treatments, particularly from an emotional perspective.

"My Special Aflac Duck has given comfort and joy to more than 24,000 children across the United States, Japan and Northern Ireland during what are often incredibly challenging circumstances," said Aflac U.S. President Virgil Miller. "Our $170 million commitment to children and families facing pediatric cancer and blood disorders, spanning more than 28 years, is best illustrated through this extraordinary resource to help families when they need it most. It is an incredibly rewarding program, and we are pleased to spread some joy today with these children in New Mexico."

"We are excited that Aflac has brought My Special Aflac Ducks to Albuquerque for our children. It is extremely important for kids facing cancer and sickle cell disease to have the ability to express their feelings and use medical play to better understand what is happening both in the hospital and at home," said Dr. Shirley Abraham, hematologist/oncologist at UNM Children's Hospital.

Attendees at the Albuquerque event participated in a My Special Aflac Duck demonstration before beginning an exciting scavenger hunt, culminating in each child meeting his or her very own robotic companion. Following the hunt, patients and their families celebrated the new friendship through various activities like creating a birth certificate and beaded necklace for their duck, coloring and more.

Additional elements of My Special Aflac Duck include an interactive mobile app that allows children to virtually bathe and feed their duck, featuring customizable soundscapes that provide soothing visuals and sounds, smart sensors that enable touch and awareness of light and sounds, a calming heartbeat and breathing vibrations. My Special Aflac Duck was named Best in Show at CES in Las Vegas and was named to Time Magazine's list of Best Inventions.

Health care providers, support organizations and families can order My Special Aflac Duck for children three years or older who have been diagnosed with cancer or sickle cell disease at

Aflac Incorporated (NYSE: AFL), a Fortune 500 company, has helped provide financial protection and peace of mind for more than 67 years to millions of policyholders and customers through its subsidiaries in the U.S. and Japan. In the U.S., Aflac is the No. 1 provider of supplemental health insurance products.1 In Japan, Aflac Life Insurance Japan is the leading provider of cancer and medical insurance policies in force. In 2021, the company became a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In 2022, the company was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index for the ninth year, the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere for the 17th consecutive year, Fortune's World's Most Admired Companies for the 22nd time and Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year. To find out how to get help with expenses health insurance doesn't cover, get to know us at or Investors may learn more about Aflac Incorporated and its commitment to corporate social responsibility and sustainability at under "Sustainability."

Aflac | Aflac New York | WWHQ | 1932 Wynnton Road | Columbus, GA 31999.

The UNM Children's Hospital in New Mexico's only dedicated children's hospital.  As part of the UNM Health System, the only academic health center in the state, pediatric patients receive the most advanced specialty and primary care in the Southwest.  UNM Hospital/UNM Children's Hospital is the only Level-I trauma center in the state and serves all New Mexicans regardless of ability to pay.   

1 LIMRA 2021 US Supplemental Health Insurance Total Market Report

4-year old sickle cell disease patient Olivia Dominguez of Albuquerque plays with her new My Special Aflac Duck at The University of New Mexico Children's Hospital. Aflac delivered their award-winning robotic duck to children facing cancer and sickle cell disease today. The company has delivered more than 24,000 My Special Aflac Ducks to children since 2018.

Media contact for Aflac: Jon Sullivan, 706-763-4813 or

Media contact for The University of New Mexico Children's Hospital: Chris Ramirez, 505-313-3429 or 

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


Cision View original content to download multimedia:


NOTE: This content is not written by or endorsed by "WJET/WFXP", its advertisers, or Nexstar Media Inc.

For inquiries or corrections to Press Releases, please reach out to Cision.