It's not unusual for a person in their twenties to be a father, but being a grandfather at the tender age of 23? Well, that's certainly not a normal occurrence, unless you're Tommy Connolly.
Tommy was your regular college kid, who juggled his studies with a social life and a part-time job. He was passionate about becoming a champion sprinter, so he trained hard to improve his stride and hoped to represent Australia one day.
However, life as he knew it changed after he received a Facebook message out of the blue one December. Tommy was suddenly a father.
After his 17-year-old cousin, Angela, contacted him via the social media platform, Tommy found out that she had previously battled a drug addiction, dropped out of school, became homeless, and was 32 weeks pregnant. At the time, the father of the unborn child was in prison.
Family is very important to Tommy, so he didn't think twice about bringing his teenage cousin, who he hadn't seen in 10 years, to his home as he devised a plan to make her life better.
"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," he told Daily Mail Australia.
"It's not her fault she's just a little girl who needed help. "Obviously I'm not going to let her stay on the streets," he added.
Tommy then did the unexpected: he legally adopted Angela. He then used up the $2,800 he saved from his job to cover the cost of moving into a new house and buy items for the baby.
A week later, Angela gave birth to a son, which makes Tommy the baby's legal grandfather.
If you're wondering what life been like for Tommy since becoming a father and grandfather almost at the same time you're not alone, and he has a lot say about it.
When the baby arrived, Tommy put his studies and athletic aspirations on hold so he could work and save up enough money to provide for Angela and the newborn.
He opened up about his experience in a Facebook post, which immediately went viral.
"I became the legal foster parent for her to make sure she’d keep the baby, stay off the streets and have a better life," he wrote on Facebook. "I've spent the last few months working, moving houses, having meetings with different departments, signing forms, being assessed and monitored, chasing funds, setting up her bank accounts, buying baby stuff, furniture, going to hospital/doctor appointments, and getting her settled in."
In addition to providing for mom and baby, Tommy was secretly putting away money so his cousin can eventually have enough to live on her own. When his brother, Liam, found out about this, he started a GoFundMe page, which raised thousands of dollars.
"[He] has stepped in and broken the cycle single-handedly but the road ahead will be difficult emotionally and financially," explained Liam.
However, Tommy said he felt guilty for all the attention he was receiving.
"We've had all these messages which has made us realize there are so many other people in this situation, I don't want people to think it's a unique thing," Tommy told the Daily Mail. "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."
Now, Joshua is two-and-a-half years old, and although it isn't clear if he and Angela still live with Tommy, the pair appear to be very close in recent Facebook picture posts.
Tommy has earned his degree and now works as a real estate agent. Judging by his social media posts, he hasn't stopped sprinting. He is also in a long-term relationship with a fellow athlete.
The family is getting ready to celebrate little Joshua's third birthday in March!
We all need someone like Tommy in our lives. Don't you agree?