Chichester nurse gets on her bike for charity

A Chichester nurse talks to Charlotte Harding about her latest fundraising challenge.

Tuesday, 23rd May 2017, 7:00 am
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:49 pm
Picture: Alan Taphouse
Picture: Alan Taphouse

Rusty Taphouse always knew she wanted to be a nurse.

From a young child she had countless nurse dressing up outfits, her toys covered in bandages and while her friends rushed home from school to watch Top of the Pops she was sat in front of General Hospital. on the television.

Her 40 year career has seen her work in a number of wards from gynaecology to palliative care and orthopaedic but it was while she was doing bank work on oncology that she feels she found her true calling.

Picture: Alan Taphouse

“It is very different working on a cancer ward to any other ward,” she reveals.

“You build more of a rapport with the patients as you see them on a daily or weekly basis. You also go through their journey with them through diagnosis and treatments.

“It is nice for them to know there will always been a friendly face on the ward and that they see the same people week in, week out.”

Rusty has been a cancer nurse at St Richards for the last 16 years roughly the same time her mother passed away from myeloma and when she undertook her first challenge.

Picture: Alan Taphouse

“I was looking after a woman with breast cancer who mentioned the Playtex Moonwalk (a charity walk that takes place at night), I had never heard of it and just thought why not,” recalls Rusty.

“I trained for it but because of her treatment she was unable to do the event so I did it for her and really enjoyed the challenge.

“I was used to power walking and did it three consecutive years when I came to the realisation that I would like to see London in the day, so I applied and got a charity space with Macmillan for the London marathon.”

She completed the marathon five times, four for Macmillan and once for St Wilfrid’s, by either power walking or a mixture of walking and running.

“I power walked it once in five hours and nine minutes which was pretty good,” she smiles.

“I am so bloody minded though that I will finish any challenge I set myself.”

The latest of which sees Rusty getting on the saddle and cycling from London to Paris.

“I get a lot of cancer newsletters and I was looking at some new research related to myeloma as my mum had it,” she says.

“I got to the end of what I was reading on the charity’s website and saw the link to the charity bike ride. Before I knew it I had paid the deposit.”

Getting her old, heavy mountain bike out of the garage Rusty realised it probably wasn’t up to the job so through her cycle to work scheme she invested in a lightweight road bike.

Although she admits her level of fitness is high the shift from running to cycling was evident.

“I have strong glutes and thighs but cycling is a completely different workout,” she says.

“You are at an angle and it really impacts your lower back so I have been doing a lot of squats, lunges and weighs to improve my fitness in that way.”

Working as a nurse sees Rusty do long hours but she fits in her training before work, on weekends and her days off.

“I will get into the gym for about 6.30am and do as much as I can,” explains Rusty.

“It is my time and nice for me to do something for myself and clear my head.”

Rusty has also incorporated spinning classes into her regime as she feels the benefits of doing so when she takes part in sportives or events.

The London to Paris bike ride takes place from May 25 until 29 and will see the riders cycle 500km starting at the Greenwich Observatory in London, before heading to Calais, finishing on the last day down the Arc de Triomphe and then onto the Eiffel Tower for the finish.

Everyone who is cycling for the charity has been asked to raise £1,500 and with a couple of hundred riders taking part on its behalf that is a lot of money.

“I just want to raise awareness about myeloma as well,” says Rusty.

“I have done a number of different events just so people are more aware.”

At 55 Rusty is excited about taking on her latest challenge and raising not only awareness but also much needed funds for Myeloma UK.

You can donate by visiting

This first featured in the May edition of etc Magazine pick up you