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People With Diabetes Endure Swim Across English Channel To Raise Money For JDRF

Using The Waterproof Animas® Vibe™ Insulin Pump And CGM System, People With Diabetes To Participate In Channel Swim Relay

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HIGH WYCOMBE, July 21, 2011 – Six swimmers will congregate along the Dover coastline today, to participate in a 17-hour relay swim across the English Channel to France. The relay event, sponsored by Animas®, aims to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) and celebrate people with diabetes performing at their best. To date, the relay team has already raised more than £1,700 for the JDRF, through their ‘Just Giving’ website at:

Three of the swimmers participating in the Channel Swim Relay are people with Type 1 diabetes, and will not only have to overcome the physical exertion of the challenge and cold water temperatures, but will also fight to keep their blood sugar levels under control throughout this long, arduous swim. Each has lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 10 years, and is able to participate in the event and control their blood sugar levels thanks to the help of their Animas waterproof insulin pump.

“Our team has spent the last seven months training for this exciting event, and we look forward to making history as we show the world that people with diabetes can truly live a life without limits,” said Mark Blewitt, an experienced long distance Channel swimmer and captain of the Channel Swim Relay team. “I have been living with Type 1 diabetes for many years, and am thrilled that my Animas® waterproof insulin pump is enabling me to participate in this long-distance swim, while closely monitoring and controlling my blood sugar levels.”

The Channel Swim Relay will begin near Shakespeare’s Cliff/ Samphire Hoe (which is between Folkestone and Dover), and ends near Cap Gris Nez, between Boulogne and Calais. The total swimming time can be from 12 to 17 hours depending on the current. The temperature of the sea in July will be approximately 15-18 degrees celcius. Swimmers will also have to endure a few water hazards, such as seaweed, and jellyfish.

“I’m excited to be taking on this major challenge,” said Matt Cox, a member of the Channel Swim Relay team. “My son was also diagnosed with diabetes and I want to show him that he doesn’t have to adjust his goals in life because of his diabetes. I’m hoping this challenge will help Jack and other people with diabetes strive to achieve exactly what they want in life.”

Cox added, “I feel confident about the swim challenge ahead. The waterproof element of both the Animas® 2020™ and Animas® Vibe™ is a bonus to me as I can carry on with my training feeling reassured that I can continue to control my blood sugar levels. Since wearing an Animas® pump, my daily lifestyle has improved and I have much more freedom now that I don’t have to carry around syringes to take my insulin doses.”

More than 2.6 million people in the UK are currently living with diabetes, with approximately 10% of those having type 1 diabetes.[1] If the condition is not managed properly people can develop a complication called hypoglycaemia, as a result of blood sugar levels dropping below the normal range, leading to unconsciousness if left untreated.[2] Fear of hypoglycaemia is the strongest barrier to regular physical activity in adults with type 1 diabetes.[3]

“We are delighted to be working in collaboration with Animas to celebrate people with diabetes performing at their best,” said Sarah Johnson, director of policy and communications at the JDRF. “This relay proves that you don’t have to be an Olympic swimmer to achieve goals like this. We want to continue to encourage people with Type 1 diabetes to feel in control of their condition. Advances in pump tools have made it easier for people to administer insulin and monitor their blood sugars more closely so that they can effectively manage their disease.”

To find out more about the Channel swimmers, please visit and search for the ‘Animas® Channel Swim’ group page. To pledge your support for the Channel Swim Relay and the JDRF, please visit the ‘Just Giving’ website at:

About the Swimmers
In total, six swimmers will participate in the Channel Swim Relay—including three people with diabetes:

  • Captain Mark Blewitt: diagnosed at age 13, Mark has successfully completed open water swims in Lake Windermere, the English Channel, Loch Lomond and the Gibraltar Straights.
  • Claire Duncan: after her diagnosis at age 23, Claire became interested in running and completed over a dozen marathons. She recently completed an “Ironman” triathalon—a race including a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile cycle and 26.2 mile run.
  • Matt Cox: diagnosed nearly 25 years ago, the 37 year-old Stockport resident recently participated in the Manchester 10k Run. Cox’s son Jack also is diagnosed with diabetes.

About Type 1 diabetes

  • Type 1 diabetes is a chronic, life-threatening condition that has a life-long impact on those diagnosed with it and their families. JDRF exists to find the cure for type 1 diabetes. [4]
  • People with type 1 diabetes rely on multiple insulin injections or pump infusions every day just to stay alive, until we find the cure. 4
  • It often strikes children and stays with them for the rest of their lives. 4
  • Type 1 diabetes affects about 350,000 people in the UK, over 25,000 of them children. 1
  • Type 1 diabetes reduces life expectancy by about 20 years. 1

About JDRF
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation exists to find the cure for type 1 diabetes and its complications, and is the world’s leading charitable funder of type 1 diabetes research. At a global level JDRF volunteers and staff have been responsible for raising over £850 million to support type 1 diabetes research since the charity’s inception.

About Animas®
As part of the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies, Animas is dedicated to creating a world without limits for people with diabetes through a wide range of products, including the Animas® Vibe™ and Animas® 2020 insulin pumps, and ezManager® software. Animas, from the Latin word meaning “true inner self or soul,” has been committed since 1996 to meeting individual patient needs through the development of life-performance technology and customer service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. To learn more about Animas, visit or email

About Animas® Vibe™
Animas® Vibe™ marks the first integrated product offering from Animas Corporation, makers of high-performance insulin pump technology and Dexcom, Inc., a leader in continuous glucose sensing technologies. Unique features include:

  • The latest technology available from Dexcom – Dexcom G4™, a tiny, round and flexible sensor with the smallest introducer needle as compared to Abbott Freestyle Navigator® and Medtronic Sof-Sensor®
  • Advanced high-contrast colour pump screen technology, that displays glucose trends with coloured arrows and lines showing where and how fast glucose levels are shifting
  • Dexcom sensor technology approved for up to seven days of wear, delivering more days of CGM data than those approved for a shorter duration
  • Waterproof durability up to 12 feet (3.6 metres) for 24 hours for the insulin pump, with a Dexcom G4™ Transmitter that is waterproof at 8 feet (2.4 metres) for 24 hours
  • Customisable alarms to indicate high and low glucose levels including a hypo-safety alarm fixed at 55 mg/dL (3.1mmol/L)
  • Low basal increment (0.025 U/hr) across all available ranges for precise dosing
  • Compatibility with Diasend® communications software, enabling patients to store, review and print both CGM and insulin pump data

Animas® Vibe™ received CE Mark approval in Europe in June 2011. It is not approved in the U.S. or anywhere outside of Europe.

Media Contacts:
Caroline Pavis
Animas Corporation

Hollie Matthews
Tonic Life Communications

[1]Diabetes UK. Diabetes in the UK 2010: Key Statistics on diabetes. May 2010

[2] National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse (NDIC).

[3]A. Brazeau, R. Rabasa-Lohret, I. Strychar, H. Mircescu, Barriers to physical activity among patients with type 1diabetes, Diabetes Care 31 (2008) 2108–2109.

[4] JDRF. Type 1 Diabetes Facts.

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