Aflac commemorates World Sickle Cell Awareness Day with $100,000 donation to Children’s National Hospital for research and treatment enhancements
Patients, families and caregivers treated to a day at the ballpark as kids receive their own My Special Aflac Duck®
Highlighting its ongoing commitment to children and families facing sickle cell disease, Aflac, the No. 1 provider of supplemental health insurance in the U.S., today announced that the company has made a $100,000 contribution to Children’s National Hospital to be used for research and treatment of sickle cell. Aflac also welcomed children with sickle cell disease and their families to an exciting day of baseball at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., as the hometown Washington Nationals took on the Philadelphia Phillies.
“At any time, more than 100,000 American families — most of which are African American — are impacted by sickle cell disease, which is an inherited and often stigmatized condition that frequently causes painful episodes and can even cause shortened lifespans,” Aflac Senior Vice President of Federal Relations Bradley Knox said. “Aflac’s contribution will help Children’s National Hospital conduct groundbreaking research that we hope will someday lead to a universal cure for this terrible disease, with which 1 out of 365 African Americans are born. We are pleased to provide a day at the ballpark to celebrate the children, families and caregivers who manage the impact of sickle cell disease every day.”
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“We are honored for Aflac’s partnership to ensure Children’s National can provide expert care and groundbreaking research to support children and their families who are battling sickle cell disease across the greater Washington, DC metro region,” said Julie Butler, Vice President of Children’s National Hospital Foundation. “Their generous gift to our research program will help us develop and implement treatments that are both innovative and family focused. We are grateful for Aflac’s support financially, and for creating wonderful memories for our families such as the Nationals game on World Sickle Cell Day!”
Children attending the ballgame also received their very own My Special Aflac Duck®, a robotic duck that has helped nearly 16,000 children cope with their cancer or sickle cell diagnosis and treatments. My Special Aflac Ducks are provided to children free of charge. Children and caregivers use the ducks for medical play to help kids better understand their treatments and communicate their feelings, which is sometimes difficult for children.
The My Special Aflac Duck program was created in 2018 for children with cancer. After 18 months of research involving patients, families and caregivers, Aflac expanded the program by developing accessories specifically designed to address challenges associated with sickle cell.
“Families facing sickle cell disease often feel forgotten, as funding for and awareness about the disease are far less than similar inherited conditions,” Knox said. “Expanding our My Special Aflac Duck program and providing funding for research and treatment enhancements at a prestigious hospital like Children’s National is our way of saying, ‘you have not been forgotten and we are here by your side.'”
Since 1995, Aflac has donated more than $160 million to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, which also houses the most prolific sickle cell treatment facility in America.