The HIV+ rugby star received an accolade for being a sporting inspiration and for breaking down stereotypes and stigma around HIV at the Mirror Pride of Sports Awards on December 5th. He seemed already close to tears as he came up on stage, which prompted awards host Ben Shephard to ask: “This is quite emotional, isn’t it?” He confirmed that it really was emotional to be celebrated for that part of his personality that literally used to make him want to die. Thomas had been sent a video message for the awards by Sir Elton John, who described him as “a beacon of hope for so many people” and “the absolute best”, but he was not the only person to support and celebrate Thomas that day. As the host announced that his mom and dad were there to award him, the sportsman started to cry. As his parents came out on stage, he broke down with his head in his hands before giving them a loving hug. His mum joked that he had been a “pain” as a child, as he’d wanted to try so many different sports. His dad added that the “dark times” had been hard, but that his son was “an inspiration now”.