Aflac holiday duck renews annual fight against childhood cancer

Plush toy on sale at Macy’s department stores and online

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comNovember 12, 2013 

Michelle Nguyen, a 14-year-old cancer patient, designed this year's Aflac holiday duck.

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It’s become an annual holiday tradition and this will be the 13th year that the Aflac duck and Macy’s have teamed up to raise money for childhood cancer treatment and research.

The tool for doing that is the lovable and plush holiday duck, which generates cash for the cause through sales at Macy’s stores and websites of both the retailer and Columbus-based Aflac.

As is customary, a cancer patient has designed this year’s offering. Michelle Nguyen (pronounced “win”), a 14-year-old from John’s Creek, Ga., in north Atlanta came up with the creature’s latest look, which it outfitted for the ski slopes with a green jacket, toboggan hat, goggles, skis and poles.

Michelle has suffered from a rare genetic blood disorder, thalassemia, since she was 6 years old, and receives regular blood infusions, along with a number of medications, to keep the disease’s effects in check.

The treatment takes place at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder Center of Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, a facility that Aflac has had under its philanthropic wings since 1995. The duck design contest took place through the center.

“Aflac is pleased to call childhood cancer its primary philanthropic cause, and every purchase of Michelle’s holiday duck will move us one step closer to finding a cure,” Michael Zuna, Aflac chief marketing officer, said in a statement.

The company, a supplemental health and life insurer in the U.S. and Japan, has raised $83 million-plus in the fight against childhood cancer. More than $3 million of that is through the holiday duck campaign, which was launched in 2001.

The holiday ducks, like previous ones issued by Aflac, are in favor by some collectors. They come in two sizes — a 10-inch for $15.99 and a 6-inch for $11.99.

“We encourage all families to take one home this holiday season and support this important initiative,” said Amy Kule, vice-presdient with Macy’s parade and entertain group.

The local Macy’s department store is located at Peachtree Mall on Manchester Expressway.

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