Aflac Duck helps fight childhood cancers

Stuffed animal designed by 14-year-old patient


The Aflac Duck is best known for quacking the company name to would-be policyholders. 

But this holiday season, the duck is taking on a bigger challenge -- to help children fighting cancer and blood disorders.

The Aflac Holiday Duck is a stuffed version of the famous quacker, outfitted with skis, ski goggles, and a green hat.  The duck was designed by Michelle Nguyen, a creative 14-year-old who is also battling a rare blood disease called thalassemia.

"I thought about what kids usually do during the wintertime or in snow, and I decided to make it a duck on skis," said Nguyen.

The Aflac Holiday Duck will be sold online and at Macy's stores to benefit children's cancer treatment and research.  Small ducks are $10, larger ducks are $15.  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the ducks will go to the designated children's hospital closest to where the ducks are purchased.

In addition to raising money, the stuffed ducks are also intended to raise awareness about the need for more people to join the bone marrow registry.

"Bone marrow transplant is a cure for about 50 different diseases, both blood disorders and cancers, and about 12,000 people are currently awaiting to find a bone marrow donor," said Dr. Jeanne Boudreaux, an attending physician and past Medical Director at the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorder Service.

Nguyen is one of those waiting.  There is a critical shortage of minority donors.  About 70 percent of the people who need a life-saving bone marrow transplant do not have a matching family member, so they must rely on the national bone marrow registries.

"If Michelle were able to locate a donor and undergo bone marrow transplant, she would be cured of her thalassemia and would no longer need the blood transfusions," said Boudreaux.  "Unfortunately, we've not been able to locate a donor for Michelle."

To purchase the Aflac Holiday Duck, click here.

To learn more about joining the Be The Match bone marrow registry, click here.