Monica Sandoval was only 14 years old when she was diagnosed with leukemia. She received her first bone marrow transplant in 2010, with a second transplant following two years later. Her story is similar to that of other patients at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center of Children's Healthcare in Atlanta — but this creative girl's tale has a special twist. 

She entered a contest to redesign Aflac's iconic duck mascot for the holidays, and her design has been chosen for a limited-edition plush toy that is being sold at Macy's department stores nationwide.

Monica has a passion for cheering up her fellow patients with impromptu celebrations and face-painting sessions. Determined to help other children find joy in each day, Monica has organized mock proms and other fun events. This commitment to help others overcome the challenges of cancer earned her the title of 2011 State Hero by the Georgia chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Pennies for Patients Campaign.

In this video, watch as Monica receives two special visitors at the hospital and learns that she's the winner of the design contest. Kathelen Amos, Aflac Foundation president, and Dan Amos, Aflac chairman and CEO, visited Monica personally to share the good news.

“I am so proud that my design was selected to be sold in Macy's stores across the nation and at,” Monica says. “I am even prouder to know that the proceeds will go to help support children battling cancer across the country.”

Alfac has supported the fight against childhood cancer for nearly 20 years. More than 16,000 Aflac national sales agents and employees together contribute more than $425,000 a month to help support the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center. Those who work for Aflac are just one source of generosity. Overall, the center has received more than $75 million in donations.

The goal of Aflac's holiday drive is to raise $1 million for hospitals fighting childhood cancer. When you purchase a plush holiday Aflac duck, you're giving the kids and families fighting cancer the gift of hope. The ducks, available in 6- and 10-inch versions that cost $10 and $15 each, will benefit more than 50 of the finest hospitals around the country dedicated to pediatric cancer research and treatment.

Aflac and Macy's have raised more than $3 million through this program since 2001. Visit the Aflac Holiday Duck website to find a list of participating Macy's stores near you and to find the hospitals in your state that will benefit from sales of the Aflac/Macy's Holiday Duck.