SACRAMENTO, Calif., Nov. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Aflac, the leading provider of voluntary insurance in the United States, today presented its 2014 Duckprints Award to local heroes from the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, including cancer survivor Francesca Arnaudo, nurses Katie Haertle and Nancy Lewis, as well as Robyn Raphael, who, after losing her five-year-old son to neuroblastoma in 1998, has raised more than $5 million for pediatric cancer research.
The event, which was held at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center in Sacramento, was part of Aflac's Duckprints Award Program. Duckprints is Aflac's way of honoring people who have left their footprints in the fight against childhood cancer. The company has traveled across the nation, with stops in Houston, Texas, New York, Atlanta, Columbia, South Carolina and now Sacramento.
"These courageous women who shared their personal stories of their battles against children's cancer have earned the respect of their colleagues, their communities and families facing this disease across the country," said Kathelen Amos, president of the Aflac Foundation. "Aflac is pleased to honor them for exemplifying what we refer to as 'The Aflac Way' of being there for people in their greatest times of need. Congratulations to each of these women for leaving tremendous footprints in this ongoing fight."
"We are so pleased that Aflac has recognized two of our phenomenal nurses who dedicate themselves every day to the care of our young cancer patients," said Ralph de Vere White, cancer center director. "And I am grateful, too, that Duckprints also honored one of our heroic young patients as well as a woman whose philanthropic leadership had made life so much better for hundreds of childhood cancer patients and their families."
Earlier this year, Aflac, which has made children's cancer its primary philanthropic cause, announced its goal of exceeding the $100-million mark for contributions to childhood cancer by the end of 2015. Since 1995, the company has raised and contributed $93 million, including monthly contributions of more than $400,000 from the company's independent sales agents. As part of the Duckprints campaign, Aflac is calling individuals across America to become active in the cause. People can get involved by taking to social media to talk about childhood cancer. Aflac will donate $2 to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for any Duckprints-related social actions taken on various social mediums, up to $2 million. Related social actions include:
- Twitter - $2 for tweets using the hashtag #duckprints or retweets of Duckprints-related tweets
- Facebook - $2 for any share of specific posts related to Duckprints or using #duckprints
- YouTube Views - $2 per every view of the Duckprints videos on YouTube
- ShareThis - $2 for every Duckprints-related video shared
To support the Aflac Duckprints initiative, Aflac also created a website called 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 also purchase a 2014 Aflac Holiday plush duck, with all of the net proceeds going to 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 also going to this cause.
About Duckprints Award Recipient Francesca Arnaudo
Over the last 12 years, Francesca Arnaudo of Ripon, California, has triumphantly battled cancer while balancing her schoolwork and other activities, earning her the label of "miracle child" from the nurses who have cared for her. This tenacious teenager has beaten cancer three times after the disease was first diagnosed 12 years ago, when six-year-old Francesca fell during an everyday T-ball practice and injured her arm. Subsequent X-rays revealed a tumor. At UC Davis, a team of top-notch cancer specialists, orthopedic surgeons and nurses developed a successful treatment plan. Sadly, six months after being declared in remission, Francesca was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, for which she received a bone marrow transplant and had to be hospitalized for 41 days. Four years into remission, another mass, this time on her right lung's upper lobe, was discovered. Fortunately, the doctors and staff at UC Davis successfully removed what was to be her third tumor.
Francesca has been actively involved in bringing awareness to childhood cancer – serving as a national spokesperson for various campaigns, representing the disease and her home state. In June, Francesca graduated with honors from Ripon High School and recently began her freshman year at UC Davis majoring in environmental toxicology, and she aspires to become a pediatric endocrinologist.
About Duckprints Award Recipient Katie Haertle
Katie Haertle, from Orangevale, California, has worked for the UC Davis Medical Center for more than 20 years. A graduate of the Sacramento State University nursing program, she began her nursing career in 1983 on Tower 3 of UC Davis Medical Center caring for adult post-surgical patients. Soon after, she applied for and earned her dream position as a staff nurse on the pediatric unit providing care for children hospitalized by minor illnesses to life-threatening diseases. After a brief stint in Arkansas, Katie returned as a clinical research coordinator, submitting data to the Children's Oncology Group's research studies, and as a nurse in the Pediatric Infusion Center. In 2005, she was approached by a pediatric hematology/oncology physician to serve as their nurse coordinator. She accepted the position and continues to guide children diagnosed with cancer and their families through the treatment process by providing education, coordinating complex care and serving as a bridge of communication between the families and their physician. Katie is honored and grateful to have the opportunity to work with and support families through a difficult period of time in their lives.
About Duckprints Award Recipient Nancy Lewis
A pediatric nurse for 33 years and originally from Chicago, Illinois, Nancy Lewis was inspired to pursue a career in pediatric oncology at the age of seven by a rare tumor she faced and a heroic physician who saved her.
After graduating from high school with a license in practical nursing, Nancy wanted to learn more and quickly enrolled at North Park College, graduating four years later with a Bachelor of Science in nursing. While she began her career as a pediatric oncology nurse at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, just a few years later she headed to California to join the UC Davis Medical Center's inpatient pediatric unit. After just five years, she accepted a position in the outpatient Pediatric Infusion Center and has been there since. Nancy has held many roles during her time in the Pediatric Infusion Center, serving as a staff nurse, charge nurse and nurse manager. She is currently a staff nurse, which allows her to fulfill her love of caring for children directly at the bedside. Nancy works closely with the Association of Pediatric Hematology Oncology Nurses, serving as coordinator and instructor of the APHON Pediatric Chemotherapy/Biotherapy Certification provider course held twice a year at UC Davis Health System. Nancy is planning her retirement in the next four years and hopes to pass on her love of nursing by actively mentoring younger nurses on how to enjoy the service of caring for children and their families.
About Duckprints Award Recipient Robyn Raphael
After losing her five-year-old son, Keaton, to neuroblastoma stage 4 in 1998, Robyn Raphael of Whitter, California, set off on a mission to help eradicate childhood cancer. She founded the Keaton Raphael Memorial in Roseville, California, and served as CEO until 2012. Among Robyn's accomplishments at the Memorial, she created an innovative Childhood Cancer Family Navigator model, which has served more than 8,000 families in Northern California with safety-net services, and named Keaton's Korner at the UC Davis pediatric oncology outpatient playroom. She has raised more than $5 million for childhood cancer research.
Robyn is a passionate local and national advocate for children's cancer. For more than 16 years, she has participated in more than 500 legislative meetings and served on numerous local and national childhood cancer committees. Robyn has represented the state of California at Childhood Cancer Advocacy Days in Washington, D.C., as well as testified in front of the National Childhood Cancer Committee. Robyn currently serves as the co-chairperson of the California Comprehensive Cancer Control Plan's Childhood Cancer Committee as a parent advocate under her consultancy, Healthy Transitions.
Robyn resides in Sacramento and enjoys spending time with her 14-year-old daughter, Kiana, and awaits weekend visits from her 20-year-old son, Kyle, who attends college in Chico, CA.
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 worksite. In Japan, Aflac is the number one life insurance company in terms of individual policies in force. Aflac individual and group insurance products help provide protection to more than 50 million people worldwide. For eight consecutive years, Aflac has been recognized by Ethisphere magazine as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies. In 2014, FORTUNE magazine recognized Aflac as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For in America for the 16th consecutive year. Also, in 2014, FORTUNE magazine included Aflac on its list of Most Admired Companies for the 13th time, ranking the company number one in the life and health insurance 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, 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 UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center
UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center is the only National Cancer Institute comprehensive-designated center serving the Central Valley and inland Northern California, a region of more than 6 million people. Its top specialists provide compassionate, comprehensive care for more than 10,000 adults and children every year and offer patients access to more than 150 clinical trials at any given time. Its innovative research program includes more than 280 scientists at UC Davis and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The unique partnership, the first between a major cancer center and national laboratory, has resulted in the discovery of new tools to diagnose and treat cancer. Through the Cancer Care Network, UC Davis is collaborating with a number of hospitals and clinical centers throughout the Central Valley and Northern California regions to offer the latest cancer-care services. Its community-based outreach and education programs address disparities in cancer outcomes across diverse populations. For more information, visit www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cancer.
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