Did you know that in 2007, approximately 10,400 children age 15 or younger were diagnosed with cancer in the United States. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by illness in the U.S. for people age 15 or younger. According to the National Cancer Institute, the five-year survival rates for all childhood cancers combined
increased from 58.1 percent in 1977 to 79.6 percent in 2003, which is a wonderful statistic. Wouldn’t it be great, though, if that number could reach near 100 percent? Cancer is such an ugly disease, and for a child die from it is just too sad. Now you have a chance to help in the fight.
The Aflac Cancer Center is committed to providing childhood cancer patients a brighter future through
advanced medical treatment, family-centered care, a child-friendly environment and innovative research. Aflac has been fighting against childhood cancer for nearly 20 years. During that time, the company has been fortunate to meet many unsung heroes who have made a real difference in the fight. To honor these individuals, Aflac has created the Duckprints award. Duckprints champions these heroes through ceremonies at childhood cancer hospitals, user-generated nominations on www.duckprints.aflac.com and in social media. Aflac Duckprints is committed in its mission to eradicate childhood cancer. Thanks to donations made to the
research and treatment of this disease, 75 percent of childhood cancers can now be cured.
Trisha Henry Gaffney was diagnosed with embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, an aggressive tumor usually found in the head, neck, hands or feet of young children when she was 19 years old in 1996. Trisha’s was the first reported case to occur in the right ureter, the tube connecting the kidney and bladder. After going through surgery to remove her right kidney, ureter and a portion of her bladder, Trisha spent a year at the Aflac Cancer Center undergoing chemotherapy and radiation. Following her treatment for this rare form of cancer, Trisha Henry Gaffney was eager to put her health problems behind her. The last thing she wanted to do was dwell on the effects of her illness.
She went back to school in Illinois, where she was a scholarship swimmer. Her treatment ended in April 1997, and she was ready to put her focus on all of the positive forces in her life. During her treatment at the Aflac Cancer Center, Trisha had started dating Andrew Gaffney, a fellow swimmer from high school. She had a big group of friends in Champaign, Ill. she looked forward to seeing again. In addition, she became a journalism major with the goal of focusing her energy on telling others’ inspirational stories of overcoming obstacles.
Trisha had heard about the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center. The Aflac Cancer Center provides specialized, long-term follow-up care and helps identify and treat problems associated with the effects
of cancer treatment to help survivors lead a full life, including school, work and a family of their own. After several years of going to general doctors for check-ups, Trisha finally made an appointment with the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center.
During her first appointment at the Cancer Survivor Program, Trisha received her health records. She was able to gain a broad understanding of her entire health history, including her treatments and the issues they could cause. From the information she received in that health history, she and her husband decided to go to a fertility specialist, where she discovered that the chemotherapy and radiation she had received had rendered her unable to carry a child. She had her eggs harvested and frozen, and eventually had a surrogate mother carry a child for her. She says “If I hadn’t had my friend telling me to go to the Cancer Survivor Program at the Aflac Cancer Center, I wouldn’t have my daughter.”
Now through Mother’s Day (Sunday, May 11), Aflac will donate $2 to the Aflac Cancer Center for every tweet/retweet, or post/share on Twitter or Facebook using the #Duckprints hashtag. Find out more about #Duckprints here.