/PRNewswire/ -- The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta today kicks off Pediatric Cancer and Sickle Cell Awareness Month by announcing that its primary benefactor, Aflac, has surpassed $50 million in donations to the fight against pediatric cancer and blood disorders. September is Pediatric Cancer and Sickle Cell Awareness Month, and cancer is the leading cause of death by disease for children under 15 in America.
Contributions to the Aflac Cancer Center help the center treat more than 350 new cancer patients every year. The hospital also performs more than 50 bone marrow transplants each year, making it the leading BMT program in the country. In 2008, the Aflac Cancer Center treated a total of 6,504 patients.
"We could not do the innovative research nor provide the quality of care that patients need without the generous support of good-hearted people who are committed to eradicating childhood cancer and blood disorders," Dr. William G. Woods, director of the Aflac Cancer Center and Professor with the Emory University School of Medicine. "Aflac's support enables us to recruit the most brilliant and dedicated researchers who are developing life-saving treatments for children at the Aflac Cancer Center and across the nation."
With 1,635 active cases, the facility maintains the largest pediatric sickle cell disease program in America, curing more children of sickle cell disease than anywhere in the nation. Sickle cell is an extraordinarily painful disease that attacks internal organs through the blood stream. Sickle Cell Disease is often referred to as an orphan disease. An orphan disease is one that has not been "adopted" by the pharmaceutical industry because it provides little financial incentive for the private sector to make and market new medications to treat or prevent it. Even so, Dr. Peter Lane and researchers at the Aflac Cancer Center make it one of its primary research initiatives.
In addition to corporate donations, approximately 16,000 of Aflac's independent sales agents donate an average of $325,000 every month to the Aflac Cancer Center directly from their commission checks. Other contributions come from Aflac staff headquartered in Columbus Georgia, New York, and Nebraska. Aflac also sells plush Aflac Ducks online with all proceeds going to fight pediatric cancer. Since 2001, sales of the Aflac Holiday Duck alone have provided more than $2.3 million to the cause.
"Our support for this cause has never been about Aflac; it is about the children whose lives are being saved or improved every day by the dedicated people at the Aflac Cancer Center," Aflac chairman and CEO Dan Amos said. "We are proud to help any way we can, but the children and their doctors and nurses are the true heroes."
Throughout the month of September, Aflac and the Aflac Cancer Center will be conducting a major, integrated campaign, including special events, online donating opportunities on Facebook, a text to donate program, and cancer & blood disorder awareness events involving NASCAR superstar Carl Edwards, driver of the number 99 Aflac Ford Fusion.
Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
The Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service of Children's Healthcare of Atlanta is a national leader among childhood cancer, hematology, and blood and marrow transplant programs, serving infants to young adults. Recognized as one of the top childhood cancer centers in the country by U.S.News & World Report, the Aflac Cancer Center treats more than 350 new cancer patients each year and follows more than 2,500 patients with sickle cell disease, hemophilia and other blood disorders. Visit www.aflaccancercenter.org or call 404-785-1112 or 888-785-1112 for more information.
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