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Special toys helping children battle serious illnesses


University Health will host a special delivery of therapeutic, toy ducks aimed at helping children with cancer and sickle cell anemia better understand and cope with their serious illnesses. During this event, each patient will be gifted a free My Special Aflac Duck, an interactive robotic companion. The Aflac organization has conducted extensive research that led to the design of this special toy that assists with sophisticated medical play.

“University Health and our partners at UT Health San Antonio are committed to improving outcomes for children facing cancer and sickle cell disease,” said Irene Sandate, chief nursing officer for the University Health Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

University Health’s Child Life specialists use these unique ducks as part of a broader program to support and comfort children who may become overwhelmed by their illnesses.

“Our team of Child Life specialists help children and their families understand and cope with challenging health care events. Specially adapted toys like the My Special Aflac Duck provide a comforting presence and a way for children to understand and respond to their treatments,” Sandate said.


Children receive and play with their own ducks

Interviews available with children and families (English and Spanish)

Interviews with Chief Nursing Officer Irene Sandate, University Health Child Life experts and Aflac representatives. They can explain the value of therapeutic toys in helping children cope with illness. (English and Spanish)


Friday, Nov. 17, 10 – 11 a.m.


University Hospital, 4502 Medical Drive. Meet in the hospital lobby at 9:45 a.m.


Please fill out the parking pass and place on your vehicle dashboard. Here is a map for parking in the Methodist Healthcare Ministries lot.


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