How does a single young man in his early twenties become a grandfather in seven days? You can take your wildest guess, but you probably won’t ever figure it out. The answer is a story of love and patience. This is a story of how a 23-year-old emits selflessness on those around him. The story could turn into a feature-length film if producers wanted to do it. Take the time and find out how a young man became a young grandpa in only seven days.
Meet Tommy Connolly
Before everything changed, Tommy Connolly was a thriving college athlete. Then, one day he received a perplexing Facebook message. At 23-years-old, Connolly evolved into a father and a grandfather within a matter of days.
We know you’re wondering how this all happened. What was the message he got on Facebook? How is any of this possible? We assure you, it is and the story is breathtaking. Prepare for the ride; you’re in for a good one.
The Aussie Way
Connolly isn’t from America. He grew up in Queensland, Australia. Growing up Down Under instilled a great sense of adventure into Connolly. Queensland is an Australian state located on the northeast side of the continent. You can see the Great Barrier Reef right offshore.
He’s always out looking for the next journey to embark on, but even he wasn’t prepared for what was to come. Before we dive into what took place, let’s provide more background information on Connolly.
The Dedicated Student
Since Connolly was from Australia and also attended college there. The name of his university was the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. Such a fitting name for quite a bright young man.
Connolly’s interest ranged from business and economics to track and field (what we’ll touch on in the next slide). He created a steady regime that would soon get turned upside down. Don’t worry; you’ll be out of the dark soon on what took place.
The Hard-Working Athlete
Connolly was a dedicated student-athlete. He competed in track and field for the University of the Sunshine Coast. Anyone who has run track competitively knows the strenuous amount of hours that you must put in to stay in competition shape.
For student-athletes, it’s already hard enough to balance school work and practice, so imagine becoming a father and grandfather. He couldn’t juggle everything, so unfortunately, running had to take a back seat for Connolly. He is very mature for such a young man.
A Positive Light To Everyone
A person who is fun-loving and always keeps a smile on their face is a great person to have as a friend. In this picture, you see Connolly and his great mate, Grimmy during Halloween.
Connolly knows how to make people smile just like his friend is in this photograph. His friends and family say his shining personality is always in good company. Those intangibles translated perfectly for him as he transitioned into the grandfather and father role.
One Who Loves To Travel
Much like with sports, Connolly had to retire another passion of his, or at least find a babysitter. Connolly had a passion for traveling and spent most of his vacation days abroad and seeing places he’s never been to before.
He frequented the United States often and recently traveled to the Sofitel Noosa Pacific Resort with his girlfriend for a romantic couple’s weekend. As we said, for that latest trip, he had to secure a babysitter first.
The Relationship Dynamic
Congratulations, you’re one step closer to uncovering the mystery. Connolly’s girlfriend, Olivia Tauro, is also a talented athlete much like her boyfriend. The two haven’t been officially together for too long, but have been “best mates” for quite a while.
“Only a one year anniversary today since ‘officially’ dating this girl but we’ve been best mates for the best part of 8 years,” Connolly wrote on his Facebook. The twist is, Olivia is not the mother or the grandmother in this situation…
Say Hi To His Cousin, Kiarna Chapman
As we outlined earlier, Connolly is always a pleasure to be around. This includes being highly involved with his family, not only his friends. However, his cousin Kiarna Chapman and him hadn’t seen one another since early 2004.
Of course, he still thought about his little cousin now and then. Connolly often thought about what she was up to, (for reasons we’ll touch on later) so in 2015 she finally contacted him with some vital information.
Distant Cousins For A Reason
One reason why the two didn’t speak for so long was due to Kiarna. She had a hard life and didn’t keep in touch with many family members, not just Connolly. In fact, the last time she updated her Facebook was in May 2011.
She was almost illiterate, didn’t have a phone, and would sleep in the streets. None of the family had an idea about her hardships to that extent. “She’s spent more time on the streets than anywhere else, and knows the police better than she knows her own family,” Connolly said.
Life On Her Own
Until you’ve put yourself in someone’s shoes who’s had it rough, it’s tough to judge. Kiarna’s parents were not involved in her life. The only person she had was her boyfriend, but he was arrested and sent to prison. Kiarna had nothing more than some clothes and a backpack as she wandered the streets.
Kiarna allegedly was using illegal substances as she faced many hurdles in her life. “Not many people know her story. It’s very intense. Nobody deserves the life she’s had,” Connolly said. That’s when Kiarna reached out to her big cousin on Facebook.
Figuring Out How To Help
Being the outstanding person Connolly is, he was determined to help out his little cousin. Her message to him was a cry for help. And like we said earlier, Connolly already had a busy life. He was willing to put his life on pause to assist.
“Life dealt Kiarna a poor hand, and she’s had to play it best she could,” Connolly stated. His plan was to open up his home and bring her in. What happened next could not have been predicted.
Get The Paperwork!
In an interesting turn of events, Connolly pulled off the ultimate assist. After knowing everything that his younger cousin has been through, the track runner decided to get the paperwork together and adopt Kiarna.
She was only 17 so he officially became her legal guardian. He quickly turned into the father figure that she needed. His plan was to keep her off the streets and help her brighten up her future. He even bought her a kitten. The craziest part is still to come…
A Baby On The Way
On top of all the stress Kiarna had to live through, she dropped yet another bomb on her cousin. She would be expecting a child by her boyfriend in jail. Naturally, Connolly was shocked to find out this information.
After adjusting to living with Kiarna, he now had to prepare himself for a newborn baby. That’s something only experience can prepare you for and as it stood, Connolly had no experience raising a child. That didn’t mean he wouldn’t try.
Seven Days Later
In only seven days after the adoption, Kiarna had given birth to her child. Connolly hadn’t even realized she was pregnant at the time of adoption. He didn’t know until she told him for the first time.
“All I wanted was to give this little man a better life than I had – a second chance was all I wanted,” Kiarna said. “Since carrying this gorgeous boy, all of my friends kept telling me that he would be taken away from me.” Luckily, she had her older cousin to prevent that. The story doesn’t stop here, however…
A Change In Lifestyle
All the trips, running track, and quality time with friends and his girlfriend were now compromised. Connolly’s life changed drastically from one week to the next like no one could have ever seen.
Connolly was forced to move into a different house in order to have more space for everything. His life went from young adult to young father. He accompanied her on trips to the doctor, bought the baby everything he needed, and sacrificed his leisure time.
Tommy Is Delighted To Help
By now, you know how generous Connolly is. A task like this isn’t really a task at all for him. He knew his cousin was in need of help so he did what he had to do because she had no one else there to help.
“Glad to finally say she’s now living in a safe, stable, awesome house … with a brand new bed, and brand new life,” he said. All of these things add up and help show Kiarna what living a positive life looks and feels like. He may be providing the groundwork for her, but Kiarna isn’t snoozing on the job.
She Handles A Bulk Of The Load
As humble as he can be, Connolly admitted he took up the father role, but he also downplayed the amount of effort he put into helping. Kiarna isn’t his true daughter, but the love he provides replicates a real father.
As far as the “work” he does, he claims Kiarna holds the lion’s share of it. “My cousin 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,” he said. How does his girlfriend feel about all of this?
Highly Supportive Girlfriend
It’s always great to have a support system around that understands who you are as a person. Oliva has been in Connolly’s life for years now and she has a pretty firm understanding of how her boyfriend is. She knows he would do anything to help those in need.
Through it all, she supported her boyfriend and also helped raise young Kayden whenever she can. Even though this is a good thing in many people’s eyes, Connolly couldn’t help but feel guilty…
What’s There To Feel Guilty About?
The reason behind Connolly’s guilt is a noble one. Helping his cousin is, in fact, something good, but Connolly’s awareness grew exponentially after this happened.
“We’ve had all these messages which have made us realize there are so many other people in this situation, I don’t want people to think it’s a unique thing,” he said. Which is true, this isn’t a special situation. Cases like this happen more often than one would think.
Keeping Everyone Up To Date
“There’s still a long way to go, but things are on track and she has the opportunity she deserves,” Connolly shared on social media. “When bad things happen, it’s your family that supports you… It means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”
Despite feeling guilty, Connolly knows the importance of what he’s doing. Hopefully, out of the 4,000 people who shared that message he wrote, at least of them will have the courage to step up when the time calls for it.