by Hans Johnson

Tommy Connolly, a 23-year-old Australian college student, heard from a 17-year-old cousin he hadn’t seen in 10 years through Facebook last December. “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”. She was living on the streets barefoot, just getting off of drugs, and 32 weeks pregnant.

Proving he is “his cousin’s keeper”, Connolly has suspended his athletic training and worked extra hours to care for her and her son.

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