Uni student, 23, takes in homeless pregnant cousin, 16
AT 23, Tommy Connolly could be hanging out with his mates, training in hope of realising his dream of being an elite athlete, and enjoying the freedoms of youth.
Instead the bright, enthusiastic young man is looking after his homeless, illiterate 17-year-old cousin and her newborn baby boy after rescuing them from the streets when she was pregnant.
"Sarah" (not her real name) was 16, pregnant and living on the Gold Coast streets when she reunited with her cousin over Facebook.
Mr Connolly said he had not seen her for 10 years.
He said the decision to do for her what her misfit parents never had was easy.
He would protect her, provide for her, respect and nurture her.
"I loved (Sarah), she was the sweetest little girl," he said.
"She was my favourite cousin and I was hers."
Mr Connolly said he didn't make the costly decision to take her in to become famous, but his story had gone viral on social media with messages of support from around the globe.
A student at University of the Sunshine Coast, Mr Connolly, of Mountain Creek, moved from New South Wales in 2011 to train as a sprinter hoping one day to represent Australia.
He had $3000 in the bank when he drove to the Gold Coast to pick Sarah up.
It had only just covered the cost of a new rental house, which the Department of Child Safety had required because his earlier home had not met regulations, he said.
Sarah had been in care on the Gold Coast, where her family was based, but regularly absconded.
Sarah had been living on the streets since she was 13.
Mr Connolly said he understood why she had a tough time in life and turned to drugs.
Sarah became addicted to methamphetamine (ice) at the age of 11, but rid herself from the drug at 15.
Four weeks ago, Sarah brought her son into a completely different world to the one she had known, and Mr Connolly was right there in the birth suite with her.
"She's the sweetest girl and is such a good mum for her kid," he said.
Despite having to sacrifice a lot to take Sarah in, he said he was overjoyed to have his cousin back, and to watch her grow back into the beautiful girl he knew as a kid.
Mr Connolly's brother, Sydney man Liam Robinson, has launched a fundraising campaign, which has already raised $3000 for the family.
What "Sarah" said:
MY family wasn't really a family environment (when I grew up and stuff).
My brother was like my kid, I raised him but I was only three years older from him.
It was full hectic and I had to grow up really, really quick to look after my brother.
I couldn't really think about school work or anything like that. But now I can. Tommy's helping me now to go to school.
With my literacy, whenever I text him he'll text the right word back to me.
I couldn't spell to save my life. But when I came here and Tommy was at work, I was bored and I'd text him. So he would spell the word out properly for me.
When we go shopping together sometimes people ask if he's my boyfriend. Embarrassing. It's like because we've got different colour eyes we're not related. I say no way, he's my cousin. Ew.
I always wanted to be a chef, but for now I'm just going to focus on being a mum.
DOCS want me to be independent, but I want to live here for the rest of my life with Tommy.