For most college age students, life consists of studying, a heck of a lot of socialising and probably even more sleeping. But 23-year-old Australian student Tommy Connolly is a little different than most college students!
While studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast, Tommy was an aspiring athlete. One day however, he was contacted by his 17-year-old cousin.
Tommy had not seen her for a while, but he was still incredibly surprised to find out that his cousin was now homeless, heavily pregnant and struggling with drug addiction. He had absolutely no idea she had fallen on such desperately hard times!
Although Tommy and his 17 year old cousin were close to each other early in their lives, they had slowly drifted apart and lost touch, until they hadn’t really communicated for 10 years.
That was until the day he received the contact request from her through Facebook. Tommy says that he presumed she was living an average life: “To my knowledge she was OK… but in reality she wasn’t at all.”
But his reaction is what makes Tommy’s story totally incredible.
As soon as he found out about his cousin’s situation, Tommy immediately dropped everything. He went to where she was sleeping rough on Australia’s Gold Coast, picked her up and brought her back to his student house.
When Tommy got back in touch with his cousin, she was 32 weeks pregnant and in serious need of help. Tommy said: “It’s not her fault she’s just a little girl who needed help.”
From then on, the student worked throughout his summer holiday from university, even skipping athletics training, all so that he could earn enough money to afford a rented house for him and his cousin.
He explained: “Everyone likes to tell me this is such a big responsibility, but I wasn’t thinking about uni or work or anything, all I was doing was thinking that she needed me.”
As if that wasn’t amazing enough, Tommy then went on to become the legal foster parent to his cousin’s newborn baby. He was even present at the birth, to perform the traditional fatherly role of cutting the umbilical cord when she gave birth to a baby boy.
His brother Liam has since set up a crowdfunding page after hearing the heartwarming story, since Tommy says he “feels guilty” about all of the attention he’s getting.
“Tommy doesn’t tell like to tell people this but every week he puts away a little bit of money for our cousin and her baby so that eventually she will have enough to live on her own and take care of them both.” said his brother Liam,
“He has stepped in and broken the cycle single-handedly but the road ahead will be difficult emotionally and financially.”
The page has since raised way over AUS$23,000, but Tommy has still managed to maintain a level head throughout all the amazing things he has done.