A 23-year-old man became a father and a grandfather within weeks after his long-lost cousin got in touch.
Tommy Connolly, an aspiring athlete and student at the University of the Sunshine Coast, hadn’t seen his cousin for over 10 years. However, when she contacted him he found out that the 17-year-old was homeless and 32-weeks pregnant.
She also had no shoes or phone and was almost illiterate.
The baby’s father was in jail and the 17-year-old’s parents weren’t on the scene. So Tommy decided to adopt her and the child “to make sure she’d keep the baby, stay off the streets and have a better life”.
Writing on Facebook, he said: “This was her only option. She’s spent more time on the streets than anywhere else, and knows the police better than she knows her own family.
“She could write the book on traumatic experiences. Not many people know her story. It’s very intense. Nobody deserves the life she’s had.”
Despite the fact he was still a student and an athlete who needed to train, he worked selling fruit and vegetables to cover the cost of moving into a new home and preparing for the arrival of the baby.
In an interview with Daily Mail Australia, Tommy said he was aware he’d done a “really good thing” but “felt guilty getting all this attention”.
“We’ve had all these messages which has made us realise there are so many other people in this situation, I don’t want people to think it’s a unique thing,” he said.
Tommy admitted he had taken on “the father role as you’d imagine,” but added: “[My cousin] does 90 per cent of the work – and if it’s one or two years of my life I have to put on hold to make sure two lives are going to be saved it’s nothing at all.”
On Facebook, the cousin said: “Since carrying this gorgeous boy, all of my friends kept telling me that he would be taken away from me. This made my pregnancy very difficult. All I wanted was to give this little man a better life than I had – a second chance was all I wanted. Thank-you, Tommy for everything, and for helping me with my spelling.”