Matt Cox

Matt Cox

Channel Swimmer & Animas Hero

​When were you diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes?

I have been Type 1 diabetic for over 25 years. I was first diagnosed with diabetes in September 1985, when I was 13. My first symptoms showed when I was on holiday with my mum and dad in France. I had raging thirst; I was peeing a lot and generally feeling unwell. On our return from holiday I visited my GP and he said I was either suffering with diabetes or kidney failure. I remember thinking “God I hope its diabetes.” I knew the alternative was really bad but little did I know about the implications of being diabetic.

My school life/work was affected but very little, I spoke to very few people about it and in that era very few people knew the first thing about Type 1.

Why did you choose an Animas insulin pump?

The Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump appealed to me because it offered CGM accuracy1,2 and a waterproof feature*. My readings have never been so good; I’ve lost over 2 stone in weight and I no longer have to feed the insulin as I only eat when I’m hungry or when I want. As a swimmer, using an insulin pump over injections offers me flexibility. I’m more in control of the amounts of insulin in my system than when I injected four times a day so it helps me avoid unexpected lows during exercise. The waterproof feature is also very handy!

Both myself and Jack, my son, wear the same Animas insulin pump and it has been a revelation in our lives. Insulin pumps are the future. My readings have never been so good.

How did your Animas insulin pump change your life?

Since my diagnosis, a lot has changed in my treatment. I first started receiving two injections a day, followed by four injections and then I moved onto the Animas insulin pump. My life itself has probably changed massively but I’ve had diabetes for most of my life so I can’t really recall life beforehand. I test my blood sugar levels between six and 10 times a day and record everything including my carbohydrate intake into my insulin pump as accurately as possible so that the insulin pump can calculate the rest. I haven’t always been in control of my blood sugar but since I started using the insulin pump I’m in more control than when on multiple daily injections. I have only experienced two hypoglycaemic episodes in the last 12 months.

What sport do you practice, and how has the Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump had an impact on exercise for you?

Over the years I have enjoyed doing a number of activities including mountain biking, Thai boxing, rugby and skiing, but I have always enjoyed the freedom of swimming. I was looking for a new challenge, so I was excited to hear about the Animas Channel Swim. My son Jack was diagnosed with Type 1 when he was 3 and he wears an Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump too. My wife and I believed this challenge would give me an opportunity to prove that diabetes is not something that is going to stop him achieving anything he wants to do.

What are your main day-to-day challenges with living with Type 1 diabetes and how do you cope with them?

I have to prepare differently to a non-diabetic swimmer in that I must test my blood glucose prior to any exercise and adjust my basal rate as necessary. But, I don’t accept that my swimming challenges are any harder for me as a diabetic.

For those people living with Type 1 who are anxious about taking on new challenges, don’t avoid any activity - just plan and prepare. I take my son climbing at a local facility. We take our test kits, supplies and our emergency snacks and we’re covered. Diabetes currently is a life sentence not a death sentence and should not be considered as something that stops you doing anything.

What would you say to someone who has heard your story, also lives with Type 1 diabetes and now wants a challenge of their own?

​For those people living with Type 1 who are anxious about taking on new challenges, don’t avoid any activity - just plan and prepare. I take my son climbing at a local facility. We take our test kits, supplies and our emergency snacks and we’re covered. Diabetes currently is a life sentence not a death sentence and should not be considered as something that stops you doing anything.

I have never allowed my diabetes to hold me back and will not let my son believe that he has to adjust his goals in life because of his diabetes. I’m hoping my Channel Swim
will help Jack and other people with diabetes strive to achieve exactly what they want in life

What advice would you give someone who has just been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes?

Don’t think of diagnosis as the end of anything it doesn’t have to be. Diabetes will become something that is part of normal life and a background consideration.


There is a lot of support and advice out there don’t be afraid to ask for either.

1 Matuleviciene Viktorija, Joseph Jeffrey I., Andelin Mervi, Hirsch Irl B., Attvall Stig, Pivodic Aldina, Dahlqvist Sofia, Klonoff David, Haraldsson Börje, and Lind Marcus. Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics. November 2014, 16(11): 759-767.

2 Damiano, E. R., F. H. El-Khatib, H. Zheng, D. M. Nathan, and S. J. Russell. “A Comparative Effectiveness Analysis of Three Continuous Glucose Monitors.” Diabetes Care 36.2 (2013): 251-59.

*Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump is waterproof in up to 3.6 meters (12 feet) of water for up to 24 hours ( The Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump & CGM System Owner’s Booklet. P/N 410-298-50 Rev A. See Performance Characteristics, p. 104.​)

The Dexcom® Sensor and Transmitter are water-resistant when submerged

for up to 8 feet (2.4meters) for a maximum of 24 hours) ( Dexcom G4® Platinum Continuous Glucose Monitoring System User’s Guide, LBL012514 Rev 01. See p. 67.​)

Please note that CGM readings may not be transmitted from the CGM to the pump when in water (The Animas® Vibe® Insulin Pump & CGM System Owner’s Booklet. P/N 410-298-50 Rev A. See p. 10 & 94.​).