When Caitlyn Mortus completed treatment for Burkitt’s lymphoma at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, her mother asked her what had given her the most comfort during her stay. “I told her ‘my computer,’” she says, “because I could talk with my friends and family.” As a result, Mortus and her mother started Keep Kids Connected, an organization that gives netbooks to children with cancer. To date, the organization has given nearly 700 computers away. During her time at MD Anderson, Mortus was also a regular designer and artist for the Children’s Art Project.

“The Children’s Art Project started 40 years ago,” explains Shannan Murray, executive director of the Children’s Art Project. “Every child that is a patient at MD Anderson can create artwork. The [art is] put on products. We sell the products, and then all the money goes back to fund programs that help the children go on with their lives. So it’s all educational, emotional, and recreationally based programs.” The program empowers children who are battling illness and gives them the ability to make a difference.

Catherine Blades, senior vice president of corporate communications at Aflac, notes in this video that the company has raised more than $90 million for the research and treatment of childhood cancer. “In addition to Aflac’s ongoing financial commitment,” she adds, “we also sponsor the Duckprints program. Duckprints is a way for us to honor some unsung heroes who do wonderful things for families and medical professionals who fight this battle every day.”

In the video, Mortus, Mia Gradney, and Kendra Scott are all honored with a 2014 Duckprints Award. Gradney, a news anchor at KHOU-TV, includes the Children’s Art Project in many of her philanthropic events. Jewelry designer Scott honors her stepfather, who was treated at MD Anderson, by holding promotional events that benefit the program as well.

“Just imagine if every person in this country actually took five or ten minutes a week and made a difference for the Children’s Art Project. Imagine the difference we could make in these patients’ lives,” says Murray.

As part of the Duckprints campaign, Aflac is calling on unsung heroes across America to become active in the cause. Get involved by using social media to talk about childhood cancer. Aflac will donate $2 for any Duckprints-related social actions taken on various social mediums up to $2 million. To learn more, visit aflacduckprints.com.

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Transcript

[Catherine] We're here for a very special event today at MD Anderson. We are honoring three incredible ladies who've done so much for the Children's Art Project.

[Shannon] The Children's Art Project started 40 years ago. Every child that is a patient at MD Anderson can create artwork. The arts put on products. We sell the products and then all the money goes back to fund programs that help the children go on with their lives. So it's all educational, emotional, and recreationally based programs. It's a great way of empowering them and having them feel like they do have some control and they can make a difference.

[Mia] The Children's Art Project lets them remember that they are a kid, lets them escape through chalk and paints, and canvasses, and glue, and making a mess or making something beautiful and share with millions of others through their products. It's just a wonderful thing to get behind.

[Catherine] To date, we have raised more than $90 million for the research and treatment of childhood cancer, in addition to Aflac's ongoing financial commitment. We also sponsor the Duckprints Program. And Duckprints is a way for us to honor some unsung heroes who do wonderful things for families and medical professionals who fight this battle everyday.

[Caitlyn] I was at MD Anderson today to receive the Duckprint Award because after my treatment, my mom and I sat down and she asked me what gave me the most comfort when I was in the hospital. And I told her my computer because I could talk with my friends and family. So, after that, we came up with the idea to start kids connected, where we give netbook computers to kids with cancer. And to date, we've given over 695 computers.

[Shannon] Mia Gradney is just the most amazing. She's done everything from emcee events for us to hold her own personal events and make us the beneficiaries. Kendra Scott is a very well-known jewelry designer. Kendra's stepfather was treated at MD Anderson and she feels very committed to helping us make life better for children with cancer. There are numerous ways for people and individuals and corporations to help. You can go to our website. You can buy the products. We're very active in social media. There is pretty much a way to get involved no matter what you like to do. Just imagine if every person in this country actually took 5 or 10 minutes a week and made a difference for the Children's Art Project. Imagine the difference we can make in these patients' lives.