Six swimmers 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 £1,900 for the JDRF, through their 'Just Giving' website at: http://www.justgiving.com/animas-swimmers.
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. 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. Fear of hypoglycaemia is the strongest barrier to regular physical activity in adults with type 1diabetes.
"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."