13-year-old says her mother is a recovering addict now saving li - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

13-year-old says her mother is a recovering addict now saving lives

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio -

It is the untold story of the opioid - heroin epidemic.  What happens to a child when a parent is addicted?  

Thirteen-year-old Haley Walmsley is back in her mother's life after her grandparents took custody of her when she was just about two years old.

Now their bond is stronger than ever because of the young girl's faith, belief in second chances and most of all her belief in her mother.

Haley Walmsley looks like your average 13-year-old, but the Rootstown seventh grader has endured far more than many adults could handle, despite her family's best efforts to shelter her.

"No I don't think at this age you should know about this stuff or you shouldn't be experiencing this kind of stuff," Haley said.

That's because Haley was born to a mother battling addiction, so her grandparents offered to take custody of her at a young age.

"I first knew what addiction meant when I was around nine-years-old when my mom explained to me that it wasn't the choice you could make every day, that it was a disease you could not control once you start," Haley said.

Haley is overjoyed to be back in her mother's arms.

During her addiction, Nicole Walmsley was arrested 18 times, incarcerated 419 days, and spent 2,553 days doing heroin.

But now she's been clean and sober for more than five years, and is known statewide as a law enforcement liaison, and is known statewide as a community activist and treatment coordinator. 

And Haley couldn't be more proud.

"I'm really proud of her because she's helping people instead of being the one who is on the street laying dead, waiting for someone to try and help her," Haley said.

This young girl believes her mother has a second chance at life so that so many others who have overdosed and who need help to break that cycle of addiction can also have a new beginning.

"I think that God chose to give her this second chance because God said there's always forgiveness in our hearts.  And God has the most forgiveness for all of us, and he forgave my mom and he made it her job to help other people," Haley said.

As for Nicole Walmsley, she's a mother treasuring every minute with her daughter, trying to make up for lost time and thankful for a daughter who now sees her as someone to look up to.

"Unreal.  Five years ago nobody could be proud of me.  Nobody had anything nice to say.  So to have my own child be proud of me there aren't words to explain that feeling, but the feeling is better than getting high," Nicole said.

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