Swimmers with Diabetes Cross English Channel

Mark Blewitt, Claire Duncan and Matt Cox

| Sep 17, 2011

Claire Duncan is one of many people with type 1 diabetes who wears a continuous glucose monitor and an insulin pump, in this case, an Animas® VibeTM. In an age of almost routine medical marvels, Duncan doesn't really seem to be an exception.

Except for one thing: On July 21, she was one of three people with diabetes who were members of a six-person team that conducted a relay swim across the English Channel. The team, swimming to raise pledges for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, covered the 22-mile route in 13.5 hours, starting from a beach between Folkestone and Dover in England and finishing near Cap Gris Nez, between Boulogne and Calais, in France.

Duncan and her two teammates with diabetes, 44-year-old Mark Blewitt, and 37-year-old Matt Cox, were all equipped with the waterproof Animas Vibe, an insulin pump that combines with the Dexcom G4TM Sensor continuous glucose monitoring system. The system delivers real-time glucose information, including alerts for high and low readings, and glucose trends, allowing users to make informed, on-the-spot decisions about insulin doses and glucose control.

On September 15, Duncan discussed the relay in Lisbon, Portugal, with delegates to the 47th annual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes. Besides offering highlights of the grueling swim through cold waters (15-18° C/59-64° F), with entangling seaweed and menacing jellyfish as distractions, the press conference also brought delegates up to speed on the JDRF's current research into technologies for dealing with type 1 diabetes, and the search for a permanent cure.

The trio's members, who joined three non-diabetic teammates, have each lived with diagnosed cases of type 1 diabetes for 10 or more years. Each has become an avid athlete, engaging in strenuous endurance sports. Blewitt, the relay team captain, has successfully completed open-water swims in Lake Windermere and Loch Lomond in Great Britain, and across the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar.

Cox recently competed in a 10K run in Manchester, England, while Duncan and completed more than a dozen marathons. She recently completed an "Ironman" triathlon that included a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle race, and 26.2-mile run.

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Categories: Animas, Blood Glucose, Continuous Glucose Monitor, Dexcom G4TM, Diabetes, Diabetes, England, English Channel, Glucose Trends, JDRF's, Manchester, Strait of Gibraltar, Swim/Swimming, Type 1 Issues

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Posted by JDCA2025 on 19 September 2011

That is an inspiring story. I am always amazed to read about fellow diabetics who are achieving and accomplishing so much and raising awareness for the cause. I think that as long as we have dedicated people like that, we can still hold on to hope that things will change and maybe one day soon we will get to a cure.

The EASD is definitely an interesting organization too. It is not as widely known in the US it seems like, and they focus more on type 2, but also some hopeful research into type 1.

Posted by Florian on 22 September 2011

It is an inspiring story and the fact that all three swimmers wore the Animas VIBE speaks well for that device. I hope it becomes available in the US soon.

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