COLUMBIA, S.C., July 17, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the work site in the United States, along with Palmetto Health Children's Hospital presented two Duckprints Awards to local (South Carolina) heroes whose commitments to the fight against childhood cancer have left a huge footprint in the community. The ceremony, held at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, recognized a local high school and the dedicated founder of a camp for children with cancer for their contributions to this worthy cause. Attendees also heard the story of Kaitlyn Jacobs, a high school student and patient at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital whose life has been impacted by childhood cancer.
The 2015 Duckprints Awardees are:
- Linda Wells — the first pediatric oncology/hematology nurse at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital and co-founder of CAMP KEMO, a camp for children with cancer and their siblings, celebrating its 36th year.
- Airport High School — the school's annual charity drive has created a movement and inspired philanthropy among students, faculty, staff and alumni. In 11 years, more than $300,000 has been raised for CAMP KEMO Programs of Palmetto Health Children's Hospital.
Legendary Carolina Gamecock quarterback and the current voice of the University of South Carolina Gamecocks, Todd Ellis, served as master of ceremonies for the event. Ellis' daughter Logan is a childhood cancer survivor.
"Any family who has been touched by cancer, especially those who have seen their child battle this terrible disease, understands why we need to keep fighting every day," Ellis said. "As one of those families, we cannot say enough about these individuals who have dedicated their time and efforts to helping children like Logan. We are thrilled to honor them here today."
"Being a children's oncology nurse is a career. Going that extra mile and founding a camp for children and families facing cancer is a calling," said Kathelen Amos, president of the Aflac Foundation. "Organizing a high school to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for families you have never met is an incredible act of selflessness. Today's awardees are a reflection of Aflac's values and our community, so we proudly honor them for their heroic efforts."
"We are so inspired by the honorees today," said Sam Tenenbaum, president, Palmetto Health Foundation. "Our partnership with Aflac allows us to highlight special people like this who have made such a profound difference in the lives of patients and families."
In addition to this event, Aflac recently committed $500,000 for an endowed chair for hematology/oncology at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital so that an even greater focus can be placed on treating and researching childhood cancer.
As part of the Duckprints campaign, Aflac is calling on unsung heroes across America to become active in the cause. The company is donating $2 for any Duckprints-related social actions taken on social media, including:
Twitter - $2 for any tweet using the hashtag #Duckprints or for retweets of Duckprints-related tweets.
Facebook - $2 for any share of specific posts related to Duckprints or using #Duckprints.
YouTube - $2 per view of the Duckprints videos on YouTube.
Instagram - $2 for every post using the hashtag #Duckprints.
Aflac also created a website (aflacduckprints.com) that enables users to nominate unsung heroes in their community who have made a difference in the lives of children and families facing cancer. People can follow the Aflac Duck on his journey to hospitals around the country honoring those who have made a difference in the fight against childhood cancer. In addition, merchandise such as plush Aflac Ducks and Duckprints-related T-shirts, slippers and other items will be available for purchase at aflacduckprints.com, with all of the net proceeds going toward the treatment and research of childhood cancer.
About Duckprints Award recipient Linda Wells, MA, RN, FAAN
Because of her work as the first pediatric oncology/hematology nurse at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital, Linda had a vision to create a camp experience for children with cancer and their siblings. She wanted to give them an opportunity to feel independent and just be kids at camp. Thirty-six years ago, she was instrumental in co-founding CAMP KEMO, the fifth oldest camp of its kind in the United States. Linda's expertise in nursing research and pediatric cancer care translated to numerous enhancements of programs and services for children and their families. She helped create CAMP KEMO programs to meet the psychosocial needs of patients and families facing challenges caused by cancer. The programs educate, inspire and support the entire family so life is more manageable and enjoyable. After 25 years of helping thousands of patients and families, Linda retired from Palmetto Health Children's Hospital in 2002; however, her legacy of giving back continues as she serves on the CAMP KEMO Advisory Council. In 2013, Linda and her family established the Linda Wells CAMP KEMO endowment at Palmetto Health Foundation to continue to support children with cancer and their families for many years to come. Linda's nursing career spanned 50 years. She is currently the post-award program coordinator at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing.
About Airport High School
Students and leaders of Airport High School have created a grassroots movement unlike anything they ever imagined. The school's annual 10-day charity drive has created a culture of philanthropy, and the outcome has been transformational — nearly $300,000 for CAMP KEMO Programs of Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. Since 2004, Airport High School's student government has set a fundraising goal and empowered students, faculty, alumni and community partners to support the daily events of the charity drive. A garage sale, bake sale, kickball tournament and pie throw are among many creative fundraising efforts led by students. As CAMP KEMO Program's fifth largest donor, Airport High School continues to inspire philanthropy and encourage our community to make a difference in the lives of more than 750 children treated each year in the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital.
About Kaitlyn Jacobs
A typical high school student, Kaitlyn was very active in various clubs, particularly the Drama Club. One day while she was working on the Homecoming float, Kaitlyn felt extremely fatigued with continuous arm pain that was believed to have been a pulled muscle. The family was shocked to hear the diagnosis. At age 17, just eight months prior to her high school graduation, Kaitlyn was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), a cancer of the blood that starts in the bone marrow and spreads to the bloodstream.
Kaitlyn began her treatment at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital in October 2014 and continues weekly chemotherapy treatments. The clinical staff has come to rely on her encouraging spirit and her heart for kids. She is committed to lifting the spirits of younger patients in the clinic.
Kaitlyn recently graduated from Brookland-Cayce High School and was accepted into Clemson University where she plans to study secondary education. Her love of kids continues with her goal of becoming a high school history teacher at an alternative school.
About Todd R. Ellis
Todd Ellis, play-by-play "Voice of the Gamecocks" for the University of South Carolina Football, is the school's all-time leading passer. Todd set more than 20 school records at Carolina before being drafted by the Denver Broncos and playing in the World League of American Football.
After his stint in professional football, Todd earned a law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1995, started his practice in Columbia and married his wife, Cissy.
When their daughter, Logan, was just five months old, Todd and Cissy noticed one of her eye lids was slightly different than the other, so they took Logan to an eye specialist. The physician noted that Logan simply had a slightly droopy eyelid. Cissy's motherly instinct told her to take Logan for a second opinion. A subsequent chest scan revealed a tumor in Logan's shoulder and neck area affecting the sympathetic nervous system, which caused the change in the eyelid. Logan was diagnosed with neuroblastoma. She had surgery and was treated at the Children's Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital. Logan made a full recovery, and 20 years later, she continues her father and mother's legacy as a student at South Carolina. Todd and Cissy also have twin sons, Blake and Graham.
When a policyholder gets sick or hurt, Aflac pays cash benefits fast. For nearly six decades, Aflac insurance policies have given policyholders the opportunity to focus on recovery, not financial stress. In the United States, Aflac is the leading provider of voluntary insurance at the work site. Through its trailblazing One Day PaySM initiative, Aflac U.S. can receive, process, approve and disburse payment for eligible claims in one business day. In Japan, Aflac is a leading provider of medical and cancer insurance and insures 1 in 4 households. Aflac individual and group insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For nine consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2015, Fortune magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 17th consecutive year. Also, in 2015, Fortune magazine included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 14th time, ranking the company No. 1 in innovation for the insurance, life and health category. Aflac Incorporated is a Fortune 500 company listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol AFL. To find out more about Aflac and One Day PaySM, visit aflac.com or espanol.aflac.com.
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.
About Palmetto Health Children's Hospital
Palmetto health Children's Hospital, South Carolina's first freestanding children's hospital, treats more than 80,000 sick and injured children in South Carolina annually in its inpatient and outpatient facilities. As a major pediatric referral center, Palmetto Health Children's Hospital offers more than 30 subspecialties devoted strictly to children. To learn more, visit CH.PalmettoHealth.org.
About Palmetto Health Foundation
Palmetto Health Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization, engages community partners to enhance health care for patients and families served by Palmetto Health. For more, visit PalmettoHealthFoundation.org.
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