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How did a young man in his early twenties become the youngest grandfather in the world? It wasn't because he married at a young age. In fact, you probably wouldn't figure it out using your wildest imagination. Read on to find out how this breathtaking story happened.
Before his life changed, 23-year-old Tommy Connolly was studying at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Australia. Everything seemed great until one day he received a Facebook message.
Not only was Tommy a great student, but he was also an accomplished athlete. He shone in track and field, so much so that he competed on the track internationally. However, his promising athletic career would be soon put on hold by something unexpected.
In his free time, Tommy was always full of energy. He enjoyed doing various outdoor activities, such as hiking, white water rafting, and rock climbing. He also took many part-time jobs and saved up a large sum of money. His energy and money would be soon needed to raise his grandson. But how would it come to that?
Tommy's girlfriend, Olivia Tauro, was also a talented athlete. The two had been friends for eight years before they started dating. The twist is, Olivia is not the grandmother in this situation. She too was totally shocked to learn that she was dating a father and grandfather.
One day, unexpectedly, Tommy received a Facebook message from his cousin Kiarna with whom he'd lost contact for nearly a decade. Growing up together, they used to be very close. However, she had some shocking news...
After a few exchanges, Tommy realized 16-year-old Kiarna had experienced a tough life since they last saw each other. She was alone with no home, no shoes, and few clothes. She needed help badly. However, Tommy didn't know that it wasn't just her who was in danger.
Tommy was shocked and heartbroken to learn what had happened to her. In his memory, she was a wide-eyed baby, always smiling and wanting to play with others. He also felt guilty for not knowing about her situation earlier. He knew he had to do something to help her, even if it meant making personal sacrifices.
Tommy immediately drove down to pick his cousin up and took her to lunch. Kiarna then explained everything to him. Well, almost everything.
Without hesitating, Tommy offered Kiarna a place to stay. He promised to help her in any way he could, even though he was both working and attending college. Her life was turning around for the better, but she was still keeping a huge secret from Tommy.
Kiarna was 23 weeks pregnant! She was afraid to tell Tommy for fear that he would hesitate to help her. Instead, the opposite happened: he applied to be her permanent guardian after discovering her secret. However, there was a big problem with Kiarna's pregnancy on the horizon.
According to Kiarna, child services had been following her and would take away the baby after she gave birth because she couldn't support him. This terrible news had haunted Kiarna throughout her pregnancy. How were they going to change child services' minds?
With the baby arriving soon, Tommy was in a race against time to make sure Kiarna would be a qualified mom. He taught her how to read, write, and drive. He bought enough baby goods and accompanied Kiarna to antenatal checkups. He even spent his life savings to get them a bigger apartment. As a result, Tommy had no time to train for his track and field competitions. But all his efforts were reward enough.
Thanks to Tommy, Kiarna had a house, clothes, a pet, had learned some valuable life skills, got her driver's license, and received her learner's permit. At the same time, Tommy's request for full custody of Kiarna was approved. Kiarna and her unborn baby's life was looking brighter and brighter by the day. They were looking forward to the big day.
Just two months after Tommy became Kiarna's legal guardian, she gave birth to a boy named Kayden. Tommy was there the whole time. Well, because Tommy was Kiarna's legal guardian, the birth of her baby meant he became the youngest grandfather in the world legally at just 23. How amazing was that!
Once they came home from the hospital, everyone including Tommy's girlfriend, helped to take care of baby Kayden. Even their local community pitched in after hearing their emotional story. Together the three made one big happy family, albeit an unusual one.
Tommy worked part-time at a local real estate office while taking on some of the [grand]fatherly duties in addition to studying in college. He moved forward to start his own real estate company called UN Real Estate. Well, how was Kayden doing during all of this?
Kayden was growing into a handsome boy surrounded by love. Kiarna vowed never to let her little son experience even a hint of the desperation she did. Tommy frequently shared photos of Kayden on social media as he grew up. His posts were so touching, for example,
"All I wanted was to keep this boy safe and happy...I'd pick him every day of the week, 365 days of the year. I may not be your real dad, but I'm your family, and I'll always be here for you. I haven't seen my real dad for over 13 years. I learned that a father is what a father does." Tommy wrote.
Tommy didn't expect their story would go viral on the internet. "Why did the post go viral? It was family helping family. That should be a standard thing. Since then, we've had so many random acts of kindness from people we don't even know," he said.
Kiarna is doing great with Kayden and has reconnected with her family that she had lost touch with. She even got her high school diploma and a full-time job. She was able to support her beautiful son. We wish them all the best!