My Special Aflac Duck arrives in Northern Ireland

  • Aflac brings its award-winning robotic duck to the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity Northern Ireland.

    Aflac Northern Ireland, a subsidiary of Aflac Incorporated, has joined forces with the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity to help provide comfort to local children diagnosed with cancer.

    In a ground-breaking initiative for Northern Ireland, Aflac NI, which currently has 130 employees and is growing, has collaborated with The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity to make available its My Special Aflac Duck for cancer patients three years of age and older, free of charge.

    This initiative broadens Aflac’s commitment to make My Special Aflac Duck more accessible to children in cancer treatment. Since 2018 and in partnership with more than 350 participating hospitals and cancer-related organisations, Aflac has distributed more than 12,000 robotic ducks to patients across the U.S. and Japan. In 2018, Time Magazine named My Special Aflac Duck one of the top 50 inventions of the year.

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    For more than 20 years, Aflac has used its iconic mascot, the Aflac Duck, to promote its products, services, and corporate culture in both the United States and Japan.

    Designed and created by Sproutel, the robot uses naturalistic movement, quacks, nuzzling and calming play. The Bluetooth-enabled duck boasts a range of ground-breaking features, including feeling emoji cards, which can be pressed against its chest, generating a reaction that imitates how the child is feeling. It has a corresponding app that further enables medical play to help children cope with often scary and uncomfortable cancer treatments. Its removable plush exterior is machine washable, enabling easy care for parents.

    In 2019, Aflac Northern Ireland opened its doors as Aflac’s newest global technology and cybersecurity innovation centre. This partnership with The Children’s Cancer Unit Charity symbolises Aflac’s history of social responsibility in the communities it serves and its commitment to Northern Ireland, its employees and local communities.

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    Commenting on the initiative, Aflac Northern Ireland Managing Director Keith Farley said: “As a growing member of the Northern Ireland business ecosystem, we feel a strong need to engage with the community and demonstrate our commitment to the families where we live and work. By introducing My Special Aflac Duck and helping bring comfort to children and families facing childhood cancer in Northern Ireland through our collaboration with the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity, we are returning the warm welcome that we have received since opening our technology centre in Belfast. We’re confident that this partnership will make a real difference in the lives of local children who have been diagnosed with cancer.”

    Naomi Spence, Community Play Specialist at The Children's Cancer Unit Charity also added: “Without support, our charity wouldn’t exist to continue our vital work, and we deeply value the significant contribution and commitment being made by Aflac Northern Ireland at this time. We’re particularly excited for those children who will benefit from the joy and friendship My Special Aflac Duck will bring to their lives during their treatment and care.”

    Founded in 1984, the Children’s Cancer Unit Charity exists solely to support the work of the Children’s Cancer and Haematology Unit at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children and their families. The Unit cares for children with cancer and blood disorders up to the age of 16, with around 50 new patients attending each year. It is the only facility in Northern Ireland that provides specialist cancer treatment for children.

    For more information about My Special Aflac Duck in Northern Ireland, please visit

    Source: Written from press release.

    About the author

    Aoife is a Sync NI writer with a previous background working in print, online and broadcast media. She has a keen interest in all things tech related. To connect with Aoife feel free to send her an email or connect on LinkedIn.

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