“My goal in life is to give her the best life she can have”

(Video by Marc Lester / Anchorage Daily News)

Helen Benson changed her life while staying at a shelter for abused women. Pregnant with her daughter, Serenity, she turned away from a lifestyle of alcohol and drugs that she was desperate to overcome.

Now sober for seven years, other challenges remain. In 2012, Serenity was diagnosed with partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. For Helen it helps explain her daughter’s behavior, which she first noticed shortly after Serenity was born. Helen says she understands her actions caused her daughter’s permanent condition.

Helen shares her experience and explains why getting a proper diagnosis was crucial to her new mission.

She is the way she is because of me, yes. Is there guilt? Yeah, there is. I did what I did. I can’t change that. But what I can do is fight like hell to get her what she needs.

Originally published February 21, 2014 by Marc Lester in Anchorage Daily News.