In an exclusive interview and photoshoot with HELLO!, World athletics champion Iwan Thomas speaks for the first time about his baby son's traumatic battle for survival after being born with a potentially fatal condition. Five-month-old Teddy was diagnosed with Group B Strep, an infection caused by streptococcal bacteria, which can lead to meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis, and spent the first ten days of his life in intensive care. Ahead of Father's Day, a landmark occasion Iwan feared that he and his firstborn child would never share, he tells HELLO!: "When I saw him covered in tubes, I wanted to swap places with him. I'm not religious, but I was saying: 'Please God, take me instead.' If the infection had spread, we knew that even if Teddy survived, he could be brain damaged. For my partner's sake, I put on a tough façade but inside I was crumbling."
Iwan Thomas with his gorgeous baby son Teddy
However, showing the same determination to win as his European and Commonwealth star dad, little Teddy pulled through. The 400-metre sprinter – who still holds the British record after 22 years – tells HELLO! that having Teddy in his life has changed him forever. "He's made me a better person," he says. "As a sportsman, I led a selfish life. But having him is the best thing I've ever done. For the rest of my life on this planet, I'm dedicated to him and being the best dad I can."
Iwan, who suffered from depression after his running career was blighted by injury, also spoke of how he opened up to Prince Harry as they flipped burgers together at Kensington Palace in 2016 for the royal’s mental health initiative Heads Together. "He’s such a lovely guy, and before I knew it, I was telling him what I’d gone through. We’ve both had problems and now we’re both new dads. I reckon he's an amazing hands-on dad; he'd definitely want to get stuck in to help with baby Archie, changing nappies and at bath and bedtime."
To read the full story, pick up the latest copy of HELLO!, out Monday 3 June