According to Cancer.org, there is a one in 285 chance that a child will be diagnosed with cancer before they are 20 years of age, and there will be 15,780 new cancer cases (expected) to be diagnosed in children and adolescents in 2014. The numbers are startling, and while there is a 80% cure rate for childhood cancer, we still have a long way to go to find a cure for all childhood cancers.
Yesterday, I was joined by 11 year old cancer survivor Austin Freeman and Buffy Swinehart who is director of Aflac special events to discuss just how this year’s Aflac balloonicle in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade is helping to find a cure for cancer. They also discussed how you can do your part to help find a cure for childhood cancer at your local Macy’s store, via social media or at AflacDuckPrints.com.
Candace: Austin, you recently went to New York City and got a sneak peek at the balloonicle. What was that like?
Austin Freeman: “Well, I thought it was amazing because I got to go to New York in a plane, and that’s only my second time flying. I had a lot of fun in New York and it was just amazing. I got to go inside the balloonicle, the actual Aflac balloonicle and ride around in it, it was amazing!
There actually is a plush version of it, at AflacDuckPrints.com you can get a plush Aflac duck. It is our holiday duck as is our balloonicle, or you can go to your local Macy’s store.”
Candace Rose: Buffy, can you please tell us about the balloonicle and this year’s holiday duck?
Buffy Swinehart: “Sure, so this year’s balloonicle is the Aflac duck trying his wing at ice skating, and as Austin mentioned, the plush looks like this year’s balloonicle. This is a great keepsake and a collectible item, but the awesome thing about it is that 100% of the proceeds from every one of the plush ducks sold go to children fighting cancer.”
Candace Rose: How are the plush ducks helping to find a cure for childhood cancer?
Buffy Swinehart: “Well, we’ve got about 50 participating children’s hospitals across the country. Depending on how well the holiday ducks do, we’re able to raise quite a lot for the cause. We know that this year’s duck is going to sell really well.”
Candace Rose: How successful have you been at working to find a cure for childhood cancer?
Buffy Swinehart: “Aflac got involved in the cause in 1995, and since that time we’ve been able to donate over 93 million dollars to childhood cancer. We’re very proud of that and what we’re even more excited about is 50 years ago the cure rates were nearly 20%, and today they are 80%, so we are thrilled with that outcome. We’re not going to stop until we reach 100%.”
Candace Rose: Do either of you have any additional tips or information you’d like to share with us?
Austin Freeman: “Well, yes we do. If you go to #DuckPrints, you can raise $2 for cancer. It’s something that we need to help find a cure for cancer. It’s sad how many people have lost their lives to cancer and we need to find a cure.
Go to #DuckPrints and you will raise us two dollars.”