On the 28th of May, I am signed up to participate in my first 100-mile cycle.

To make it slightly trickier, I have also challenged myself to do this off-road by completing the Dorset Dirt Dash 100.

I am doing this for two reasons. Firstly, it’s a personal challenge following a knee operation last year and finding out that I have the beginnings of osteoarthritis in my knee. My surgeon warned me off running, so my go-to exercise has had to become cycling. Not one to sit back quietly, needing to get fit, and doing my rehabilitation on the bicycle, I needed a challenge to aim for. Having always wanted to ride longer off-road rides, this challenge seemed perfect. It will be almost a year after my knee operation. It has been steady progress over the last year building up to this, and it has given me something to aim for and a reason to climb on my bicycle four times a week.

Secondly, last year at about the same time, I started work at the Queen’s Nursing Institute, one of the oldest nursing charities dedicated to supporting community nurses in all their guises. Community nurses operate in many roles, including District Nurses visiting patients in their homes, nurses working in GP surgeries and nurses working in care homes. They often work in unstructured or non-clinical environments, acting as the primary medical practitioner. They are the unsung heroes that keep the wheels of the community and primary healthcare system working, especially since the pressures on the system during Covid and beyond.

The work that QNI undertakes includes various programmes and projects that offer a mixture of support, grants, courses, policy influencing, standards setting and network building.

The money I raise here will directly support the QNI’s Talk to US listening service. The service offers emotional support by phone to registered nurses working in the community. The service is operated by trained listeners who are available to speak to any nurse working in the community, residential or social care, primary care or any other setting or specialism in the community. TalkToUs is intended as a friendly ear for those who would like to talk to someone confidently about their life or work. You can find more about the service here.

I would love your support if you felt able. Please give here if you can:

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