23-year-old Tommy Connolly had it all; a part-time job, friends, and was attending the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. As far as he and anyone else knew, his life was awesome, but not out of the ordinary. Then he got a Facebook message that changed his life forever.
Tommy was the start of his university’s track and field team, but his athletic prowess new no bounds. So, he started participating in competitions that weren’t college related. Ultimately, his goal was to move forward and race in the national and international championship competitions. What he wasn’t expecting was for his athletic dreams to get derailed.
Tommy was always looking for the next great adventure. Fortunately, Australia had plenty of challenges for him, particularly the outdoorsy kind, which he loved. Aside from hiking, he also loved going water rafting, and climbing. It seemed pretty obvious that he got off on adrenaline. But then life offered him one challenge that totally threw him for a loop.
Aside from his sports dream, Tommy wanted to own his own business someday, which is why he majored in business and economics. He planned on balancing his business knowledge with sports, so he could have the best of both worlds. But then he found out that he had a family that he had to look after.
Tommy had explored some of the most remote parts of Australia, and then he had a shot at vacationing in the United States with his “mates.” This allowed him to see that he had an irresistible impulse to travel, and intended to do even more traveling while he was young. But then he discovered that he had a baby to take care of.
Tommy has a girlfriend named Olivia Tauro. But they were friends for 8 years before they decided to date each other. She’s also an athletic person, like Tommy. But spoiler alert! Just don’t call her grandma. She was totally shocked when she learned that she was dating a father and a grandfather, which made her question everything.
When Tommy was little, he had a cousin named Kiarna, who is 17. The two were like two peas in a pod, but time had passed and Kiarna was now living in Southport. This meant that they hadn’t spoken in over 10 years. Then, out of the blue, she reached out to him, and gave Tommy some startling news.
Tommy learned that Kiarna’s parents couldn’t care for her, so she was out on the streets. To survive, she resorted to petty crimes and drugs to mask the pain. She couldn’t read either because she’d been expelled in 2011. She also had a boyfriend who got into trouble and was now behind bars. After hearing her story, Tommy realized that Kiarna had no one to turn to for help, but he was about to change all of that.
Kiarna didn’t have to ask for help. She was family, and Tommy knew he had to lend her a hand. In fact, he felt horrible that his favorite cousin had endured so much, while he was living it up. So, he decided to invite her to live with him, but she needed more than just a roof over her head. That’s when he made an incredible choice that altered both of their lives in ways neither of them could have foreseen.
Although they were blood related, Tommy chose to become Kiarna’s legal guardian, which essentially turned him into her cousin/daddy. But this also meant that he had a huge responsibility, not that he minded. Now that Kiarna was back in school, her reading and writing skills got better, and her life was free of drama. But then, Tommy and Kiarna’s lives got turned upside down yet again.
One day, Kiarna confessed to Tommy that she was pregnant with her jailbird boyfriend. At first, she was petrified that her baby would get taken away because she was underage and on the streets. But since she had a better life now, she and her baby stood a far better chance at making it. However, this meant that Tommy, who was legally Kiarna’s dad, was about to becoming a grandfather at 23.
Days after Kiarna’s legal adoption papers went through, Kiarna gave birth to a baby boy named Kaydan. Tommy was in the delivery room and filmed the entire thing from the birth to the cutting of the cord. This meant that he was now a grandfather, which was ironic given that he didn’t have any biological kids of his own, at least, not yet. But with his growing family came some drastic changes.
Tommy stayed in school and trained in track and field, but he also got a second job selling farmer’s produce. Despite the extra responsibility, Tommy worked around his schedule so he could help Kiarna look after the baby. But aside from being a nice guy, he’s modest too. He gives his cousin most of the credit for making it work. But how did his girlfriend feel about this?
Most girlfriends would bail after learning what Tommy did, but Olivia knows the kind of guy she’s dating, so she’s got his back. Aside from planning a future with Tommy, Olivia also helps Kiarna look after Kaydan. But obviously, some people might shake their heads when they hear about their unusual family circumstances. Still, others surprise you, the way they surprised Tommy and Kiarna when they hit a bump.
Tommy had the weight of the world on his shoulders, so his brother set up a GoFundMe account, hoping this would help. In less than no time, people started donating lots of money, but also something more valuable. While the target was $50,000, the words of encouragement have been absolutely priceless. People have also shared their stories, which made Tommy realize that his circumstances are as unique as he once thought.
It’s been three years, since Tommy’s life changed forever, and he’s so glad it happened. On a Facebook post, Tommy had nothing but praises about his grandson, Kaydan, calling him “the best anti-depressant that money couldn’t buy.” He even called him “the happiest boy in Queensland.” As far as the child’s future is concerned, Tommy intends to give him a great life so that he can be the “future world champion in whatever he chooses to do.”