Uni student, 23, took in his homeless, pregnant teenage cousin

150506 23 yr old student took in pregnant cousin

Tommy Connolly hadn’t seen his teenage cousin in 10 years when she added him on Facebook out of the blue in December.

The 23-year-old Sunshine Coast University student was enjoying semester break and training hard in the hope of one day representing Australia as a champion sprinter.

He messaged his 17-year-old cousin Angela* (name has been changed for legal reasons) to see how she was doing and soon found out she was homeless, illiterate and 32 weeks pregnant.

Mr Connolly picked her up from where she was sleeping rough on the Gold Coast, let her move into his flat, took care of her through the final stage of her pregnancy and is now helping to raise her four-week-old baby boy. 

The 23-year-old Sunshine Coast University student says he didn’t think twice about helping her

‘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 favourite little cousin when I was growing up,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.

‘To my knowledge she was OK… but in reality she wasn’t at all.

‘Basically she was living on the streets, she became addicted to ice and was doing terrible things to get by. She didn’t have anything.’

Mr Connolly said Angela – whose last year of schooling was Year Six – had stopped taking hard drugs by the time she was 15 but at 16 she fell pregnant, and her baby’s father was sent to prison soon afterward.

By the time Mr Connolly met up with her she was 32 weeks pregnant, and he said he didn’t think twice about taking her in.

‘It’s not her fault she’s just a little girl who needed help,’ he said.

‘Obviously I’m not going to let her stay on the streets.

‘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.’ 

Because Mr Connolly was on university holidays at the time he had been working full time in his job at a fruit and vegetable wholesaler and he had saved $2800, just enough to cover the cost of moving into a new house and buying items for the baby.

He put his athletics training on hold so he could work enough hours to save money, but he returned to university as normal at the beginning of March because he didn’t want to delay his studies.

When Angela gave birth to her baby Joshua* (name has been changed) on March 17, he was finishing off university assignments due the next day in the hospital waiting room.

‘I went into uni the day after, I hadn’t slept but I needed to do a presentation,’ he said.

Now that Joshua is four weeks old, Mr Connolly continues to go to class and is working three days per week to support the three of them.

And while many other 23-year-olds would rather be spending their spare time partying with friends or travelling, he says he doesn’t mind the impact that looking after Angela and Joshua is having on his social life.

‘My closest mates are from training, so they’re athletes, and they don’t go out all the time,’ he said.

‘Most of the time they work, train and study, so I’m around a good crew of people.’

His brother Liam has started a GoFundMe fundraising page in an effort to make Mr Connolly, Angela and Joshua’s financial situation more stable.

Mr Connolly said that, since sharing his story online, he has been getting messages from people all over Australia congratulating him for what he is doing.+

‘I know what I’ve done is a really good thing but I feel guilty I’m getting all this attention,’ he said.

‘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.

‘I can’t believe how many people have been in these shoes before, and have had no help or support when they were pregnant.’

Mr Connolly added that he wasn’t worried about how his situation would affect his plans to start his own family one day.

‘Growing up everyone thinks about that stuff but you can’t control that sort of stuff, it’s not something that came into my head,’ he said.

‘At first when Joshua came into the world I didn’t have an emotional attachment, all I was doing was looking after Angela.

‘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 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.’  




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