Teachers at Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center Help As Patients and Families Navigate New School Year
A new school year can be challenging for kids and parents, especially when a medical diagnosis might require special accommodations. Emily Brannon, a hospital teacher and educational advocate at the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, works with families to make this transition as easy as possible. Emily recently met with a sickle cell patient and his parents who were concerned about their son beginning kindergarten and wanted to make sure his teacher and administrators were aware of his medical needs.
“I was able to set up a meeting with the school principal, kindergarten teacher and the patient’s parents to provide handouts explaining sickle cell disease and discuss what was most important for this patient and his family,” said Brannon. “Schools have processes in place for children with medical needs, and through my educational advocacy and the parents’ opportunity to share their personal concerns, the school was able to provide appropriate support and accommodations for this student as he began his elementary experience.”
Emily is part of the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center’s family support team, which is completely donor-funded. In early 2023, the Aflac Foundation contributed $1.5 million to the family support team to help provide needed services. Emily and other teachers work with families every day to help them overcome school barriers. “The school system can be overwhelming, and with the addition of a medical diagnosis, school tasks can seem impossible,” said Brannon. “The best part of our day is seeing the relief in a parent’s face when we offer to take on certain tasks and provide solutions for them.”
How can you help?
The Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center’s family support team maintains a wish list where teachers can identify their greatest needs. Donors can purchase items which are shipped directly to the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center.
Aflac herein means American Family Life Assurance Company of Columbus and American Family Life Assurance Company of New York.