Aflac’s Hi-Tech Duck Consoles Ailing Children
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Aflac’s Hi-Tech Duck Consoles Ailing Children

Aflac has long supported Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and provided comfort to children with cancer.

After 35 years with the Atlanta newspapers, Marcia currently serves as Retail VP for the Buckhead Business Association, where she delivers news and trends (laced with a little gossip).

Joey Moskowitz displays the aqua tote bag and duck whose stomach is glowing to show a happy mood.
Joey Moskowitz displays the aqua tote bag and duck whose stomach is glowing to show a happy mood.

Aflac has long supported Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and provided comfort to children with cancer. The Aflac Foundation and employees have provided more than $128 million to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at CHOA. Consistent with this mission, Aflac supported the development and distribution of My Special Aflac Duck.

“The mechanics of the special duck enable the child to share emotions,” said Joey Moskowitz, a member of the Aflac board of directors. “The emoji disc choices allow the duck to reflect the patient’s experiences. It can coo and quack in sympathetic gestures. The stomach lights up in various colors to parallel the mood. It even has a chemotherapy port to hook up and participate along with the child.”

Aflac has invested more than $3 million in this program, Moskowitz said.

A child is able to select emojis (shown here) and chemo port to reflect emotions and share experiences related to cancer treatments.

“Each My Special Aflac Duck costs about $200 to produce and deliver,” he said. “While we would prefer that there was no need to deliver another duck to a child with cancer, our intention is to provide them on an ongoing basis.”

The My Special Ducks are designed by Sproutel Inc., which makes interactive children’s games and was co-founded by Aaron Horowitz. Aflac approached Sproutel to create a robotic comforting duck that would help children cope with treatments associated with pediatric cancer.

The ducks are created for children diagnosed with cancer between the ages 3 to 13. To date, Aflac has delivered more than 1,800 Ducks to children in hospitals across the country, free of charge. About 15,000 to 16,000 children are diagnosed with cancer each year.

After 18 months of research with 100 children, parents and caregivers, the My Special Aflac Duck debuted in January 2018 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, where it won the Best in Show Award as well as the Tech for Good Award. It was recently named one of the 50 Best Inventions of 2018 by TIME Magazine.

Distribution is through hospitals or treatment facilities. Aflac created an intake process online at AflacChildhoodCancer.org/MyDuck where healthcare professionals treating children with cancer can register to order the special ducks, and where requests are verified before being delivered.

The traditional Aflac duck has been used in a world-renowned marketing campaign since 2000, when the first television commercial ran.

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