Australian college student Tommy Connolly has a lot going for him. He’s smart, successful and athletic. In addition to his studies, he’s training relentlessly in hopes of one day representing Australia on the country’s national track and field team. But, despite his full plate and bright future, Connolly is more than willing to put his life on hold — for someone he hasn’t seen in more than 10 years.
Connolly was on Facebook one day when his estranged cousin messaged him, the Daily Mail reports. He hadn’t seen or spoken with her in a decade. But none of that mattered when he found out the dire situation she was in.
The cousin, who is referred to under the pseudonym Angela for legal purposes, was homeless, illiterate and pregnant. The 17-year-old had dropped out of school in sixth grade and struggled through a long battle with drug addiction. Connolly couldn’t help but extend a helping hand.
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“I went and picked her up and she basically started telling me about her situation, which was hard for me to hear because she was my favorite little cousin when I was growing up,” Connolly, 23, told the Daily Mail. “Basically she was living on the streets.”
Connolly didn’t just give Angela a temporary place to stay. He spent $2,800 of his savings moving them both into a new house where they could live and raise her baby.
“Obviously I'm not going to let her stay on the streets,” Connolly said. “Everyone likes to tell me this is such a big responsibility, but I wasn't thinking about uni(versity) or work or anything, all I was doing was thinking that she needed me.”
Angela gave birth to her child in March and Connolly has developed a bond with the little one.
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“At first when Joshua (not his real name) came into the world I didn't have an emotional attachment, all I was doing was looking after Angela,” Connolly said. “But I really do care for him and in a way he is my kid, I've taken on the father role as you'd imagine. Angela does 90 percent 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.”
Connolly’s brother Liam set up a GoFundMe page to help support Connolly and Angela. To date, the page has raised more than $10,000.
In an interviews with 9News, Connolly said he doesn’t think he’s doing anything extraordinary. He’s just doing what family is supposed to do.
“When bad things happen, it's your family that supports you,” he said. “It means no one gets left behind or forgotten. I've had my family pull my head out of the gutter before... It was time to pay it forward.”
Photo Credit: Tommy Connolly, Facebook