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Model boss cycles from London to Paris for Oxford Transplant Foundation

Please give what you can and please make sure that you are on the organ transplant register

Model boss cycles from London to Paris for Oxford Transplant Foundation

Mike Illes, Director of MOT Models, will cycle in the Hotchillee Sportive event ( ) from London to Paris starting 20th June. The organisers say, ‘To ride The London-Paris you need to be in peak physical condition and prepared to be challenged, mentally and physically.’

The boss of one of Europe’s most successful model agencies will be 64 years old and has a steel replacement hip and needs to replace his right knee in the next two years. “What are the chances of my success? When I was 18 I was involved in a serious climbing accident and am lucky to be here at all,” said Mike. “It cut short an otherwise promising sports career and I essentially quit competitive sport forever.
“When I discovered the HotChillee event two years ago I decided that I would turn it into a last sporting hurrah and at the same time raise some much needed money for the Oxford Transplant Foundation”, he added.

Mike has been training after a fashion for the last 18 months and is confident he will succeed although he has a massive collection of prepared excuses if it all goes wrong! So why support the Oxford Transplant Foundation?

September 2001 was when Mike’s wife Helen became so ill that she had to stop work. Her kidneys failed and within six weeks she was on dialysis. For some people dialysis is good, but in Helen's case it was a disaster and at the time that her cousin offered her a kidney, the main concern was whether or not she was strong enough to have the transplant operation at all. By then, she had become so weakened by the dialysis that Mike was virtually carrying her everywhere. Fortunately for her, she was deemed strong enough and had her transplant operation in January 2003.

What Helen did not expect was the vast quantity of medication she would have to take for the rest of her life and the severe side-effects of that medication. She now has increased levels of anxiety, loss of memory, tiredness and, worst of all, severe and painful uric acid crystals concentrations and arthritis in her hands and feet. She keeps very positive and both her and Mike are so grateful that she can live her life at 70%, but she would be so much more fulfilled without these side-effects.

After the operation, Helen was transferred for on-going care to the Churchill Hospital in Oxford, which is attached to the University medical faculty and is one of the world's leading transplant centres.

Mike says, “Despite the fact that transplantation of organs always seems to make the news, it is grossly underfunded in the UK, which makes it even more of a marvel that Oxford has achieved the reputation that it has. After all of the incredible care that they gave to Helen in the critical first months, I always wanted to be able to help them in a practical way and this cycling event gives me a small way of doing so. It will help them continue to develop solutions that will benefit thousands of people worldwide. It may be too late to help Helen but it isn't for the next generation of transplantees.
“Please give what you can and please make sure that you are on the organ transplant register. It really can make a difference.”

Donations can be made via Mike Illes’ Just Giving page or by texting LOPA49 and the donation amount (eg £10) to 70070.


For further information, please contact Tina Fotherby at Famous Publicity on 07703 409 622, email or Mike Illes at MOT Models on 01442 863918, email