Tracey Arthur is a senior nurse at Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre (BHOC). This year, she's taking on the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge for a second time, having first completed it in 2017. Here she talks about why she's back for the fifth anniversary year.

I have worked in BHOC for more than 21 years and have been very involved with Above & Beyond in that time as I have seen first-hand all the great things that the charity has done. I've also had many relatives that have received treatment in many of the Bristol hospitals, but of course the BHOC is where my heart lies. If it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have a job and also wouldn’t have my mum around. She has been undergoing treatment at the BHOC for the last five years; I take on challenges like the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge to give my bit back, as a big thank you!

This year I'm expecting lots of hills, lots of fun and getting to know different people from all walks of life. Along with that will be some highs and lows, but also great support for the charity.

In the past I've done lots of charity events - Bristol to Paris 2017, London to Amsterdam 2018 and, of course, chucked myself out of planes! I've abseiled and I've done an urban challenge which involved clambering up rope ladders, walking around the top of the BHOC nine floors up, and zip wires - it was a real challenge but I really loved it!!

To meet my fundraising target I'm planning bake sales all the way! Me, my mum and my sister have got a reputation at the BHOC for our bake sales; apparently patients now call up to find out when we are there! It’s been great doing this I love spending the time with my mum and I have really enjoyed the baking. Of course it's hard work but with that comes a great reward.

I also love the fact that I get to see the patients coming in for follow up that have been discharged home from the ward and we see each other in our “normal clothes”. My mum also loves it because she can talk to patients about her experience of living with cancer and how she copes with things, she’s honestly amazing!

Other things I do for fundraising things include supermarket bag packs and cycling on a static bike outside the Above & Beyond Fundraising Hub in the BRI welcome centre. I am not very good at asking for money so these things really help and I enjoy being able to tell people what the charity does. All these things help to build up to the target. 

Thinking back to when I did it in 2017, I actually always feel quite emotional. I was so proud cycling past the BRI and seeing my family and friends waving me on. I had a few surprises too, my dad and husband popped up on day one while we stopped for lunch and my sister and brother-in-law turned up in Paris - I was so happy!

My family have always been so supportive. My husband is doing the ride this year too, and my sister always ends up surprising me to cheer me on in the place I least expect it! She has also had treatment at BHOC so again she likes to do her bit to give back.

To anyone thinking of signing up I would say go for it - it is hard work but so rewarding. It is so well organised.

For more information on the challenge, visit the Bristol to Paris Cycle Challenge page on our website.