New Sponsorship Pairs Aflac and Children's Miracle Network Hospitals to Help Defeat Childhood Cancer

Staff Report From Columbus CEO

Thursday, March 8th, 2018

Aflac, the leader in voluntary insurance sales at the worksite in the United States and a committed corporate ally for families facing childhood cancer, announced an agreement with Children's Miracle Network Hospitals (CMN Hospitals) to sponsor several key CMN Hospitals events throughout the year, including the second annual #ChildrensHospitalsWeek, which is this week.

Aflac will also sponsor the CMN Dance Marathon Leadership Conference in July and five select Miracle Network Dance Marathon events held at universities across the country. The Georgia-based insurance company, with its Aflac Childhood Cancer Campaign, has a long-standing commitment to children and families facing childhood cancer, including its ongoing 22-year relationship with the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a nationally recognized hospital that treats an average of 400 new child patients every year.

"For more than two decades, Aflac, our employees, and independent sales agents have supported children and families facing pediatric cancer, contributing more than $122 million for the treatment and research of childhood cancer," Aflac Senior Vice President, Chief Brand and Communications Officer Catherine Hernandez-Blades said. "CMN Hospitals is closely aligned with Aflac's goal to help eradicate childhood cancer once and for all. This partnership will go a long way toward presenting a united front against childhood cancer as Aflac and CMN Hospitals combine resources on behalf of children and their families."

#ChildrensHospitalsWeek, held March 5-11, 2018, provides an opportunity to spotlight the importance of local children's hospitals across the country and for hospital leaders, families, corporate partners, and key supporters to strengthen and coordinate efforts to help kids get the best possible care in their time of need. During this year's event, Aflac will introduce to CMN Hospitals its award-winning My Special Aflac Duck, a robotic caring companion designed to help children cope with cancer.

The robotic duck, created on behalf of Aflac by Sproutel, a patient-centered research and development company headquartered in Rhode Island, is designed to help children and parents cope with the treatments often associated with cancer. The duck uses sensors and special emoji cards to interact with children, sharing their emotions, providing comfort through empathy and serving as a special friend to combat the feeling of loneliness that children with cancer often experience. Aflac intends to provide My Special Aflac Duck, winner of three major awards at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show, including Best of Show, to all children newly diagnosed with cancer in the United States, free of charge.

Everyone is encouraged to show support for children's hospitals during the weeklong initiative March 5-11 through the following activities:

  • Wear a bandage: Show your support for children's hospitals by wearing a bandage of your choice, taking a photo and sharing it on social media with the #ChildrensHospitalsWeek hashtag.

  • Tune in to the Facebook Live event Wednesday, March 7, at 7:30 p.m. EST: The exciting, live event will feature appearances by various celebrities and the champions, 23 kids who represent the 10 million kids treated annually at CMN Hospitals throughout the U.S. and Canada. To watch, go to

  • Join a gathering of charity gamers at Extra Life United from Wednesday, March 7, to Saturday, March 10: Charity gamers from all over the world join together at Extra Life United to learn how to make a big impact on children's hospitals through gaming. Participants attend panels and workshops and game in a tournament to unlock donations for local CMN Hospitals. The event will be broadcast live on Twitch. The Extra Life program has raised more than $40 million for CMN Hospitals since 2008.

"We are grateful for Aflac's sponsorship of #ChildrensHospitalsWeek and their efforts to raise awareness that children's hospitals need donations," said John Lauck, president and CEO of CMN Hospitals. "Aflac's efforts to provide comfort to the thousands of kids newly diagnosed with pediatric cancer each year truly makes a difference at our local hospitals."

CMN has created a national movement with one young generation helping an even younger generation of kids through Miracle Network Dance Marathon programs with more than 300 participating schools across the country. The program is run entirely by students, with all proceeds donated to the CMN Hospital in their community. Each event features an eight- to 40-hour fundraising marathon. This year, Aflac will sponsor five select Miracle Network Dance Marathon events, which will feature an Aflac Power Hour, with funds raised during that hour earmarked specifically for childhood cancer care and treatment at local CMN Hospitals.

Additionally, Aflac will sponsor the Dance Marathon Leadership Conference, an annual event attended by hundreds of college and university students who are leaders in their schools' Dance Marathon programs.