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My Special Aflac Duck® Joins Gabe on His Sickle Cell Journey

“Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.”- Bill Watterson

My Special Aflac Duck® Joins Gabe on His Sickle Cell Journey

“Things are never quite as scary when you’ve got a best friend.”- Bill Watterson

Published 08-31-22

Submitted by Aflac Incorporated

For Gabe and his mother, Jessica Brown, a sickle cell diagnosis was a call to action — to raise awareness of the disease and become a catalyst for change.

Through social media, Jessica tells Gabe’s story, showcasing his vibrant personality, educating others on what a sickle cell diagnosis means, and creating an open dialogue that advocates for change in health care resources for this disease.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our little warrior. In life, you can’t pick when, where or how you are born, but you can pick the attitude you carry through life,” said Jessica. “We choose to approach every day with gratitude and joy!”

Joining Gabe on his journey is My Special Aflac Duck®, a robotic companion designed to help kids diagnosed with sickle cell disease or cancer prepare for medical procedures, communicate their feelings and so much more.

Gabe loves to give warm hugs to his My Special Aflac Duck that accompanies him on good days and stressful days: happy volunteer events, nervous doctor appointments and all sorts of adventures.

Gabe using a toy syringe to feed his Aflac stuffed duck

My Special Aflac Duck comes with accessories and attachments that emulate the medical equipment patients see at their regular doctor visits. It also helps kids remember how important it is to take vitamins and have regular checkups to maintain a healthy mind and body.

“Children learn best through play, and My Special Aflac Duck helps them better understand and prepare for treatments. It also makes it easier for them to express their emotions — something that is often difficult at a young age,” said Buffy Swinehart, senior manager, Aflac Corporate Responsibility. “Seeing Gabe with his My Special Aflac Duck is exactly what we envisioned — giving kids comfort through the unimaginable — and we are grateful to join him and Jessica as they advocate for those managing the impact of this disease every day.”

Parents can order their own My Special Aflac Duck free of charge for pediatric cancer or sickle cell patients ages 3 and up and connect with a child life specialist.

Gabe giving a big hug to his stuffed Aflac duck

ABOUT AFLAC INCORPORATED

Aflac Incorporated (NYSE: AFL) is a Fortune 500 company helping provide protection to more than 50 million people through its subsidiaries in Japan and the U.S., paying cash fast when policyholders get sick or injured. For more than six decades, insurance policies of Aflac Incorporated's subsidiaries have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the U.S., Aflac is the number one provider of supplemental health insurance products.1 Aflac Life Insurance Japan is the leading provider of medical and cancer insurance in Japan, where it insures 1 in 4 households. In 2021, Aflac Incorporated was proud to be included as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies by Ethisphere for the 16th consecutive year. Also in 2021, the company was included in the Dow Jones Sustainability North America Index and became a signatory of the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). In 2022, Aflac Incorporated was included on Fortune's list of World's Most Admired Companies for the 21st time and Bloomberg's Gender-Equality Index for the third consecutive year. To find out how to get help with expenses health insurance doesn't cover, get to know us at aflac.com or aflac.com/español. Investors may learn more about Aflac Incorporated and its commitment to ESG and social responsibility at investors.aflac.com under "Sustainability."

Media contact: Jon Sullivan, 706-763-4813 or jsullivan@aflac.com

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

1LIMRA 2021 US Supplemental Health Insurance Total Market Report

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Aflac Incorporated

Aflac Incorporated

Aflac is a Fortune 500 company, providing financial protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. When a policyholder or insured gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fairly, promptly and directly to the insured. For more than six decades, Aflac voluntary insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress.

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