More than 30 years ago, a little girl from Windham in need of a liver transplant captured the hearts of Mainers.

In the years since, she’s had some amazing highs and some amazing lows, and now she’s written a book to tell that story, and inspire others.

Known as Norma Peterson then, her story struck a nerve in the late 1980s, with Mainers determined to help the little girl.

“And I had a liver transplant when I was seven years old,” Norma Fitts said.

It was a happy ending, and when the TV cameras moved on, she did too, growing up, getting married and having a daughter, named Chloe.

Then there was a shock.

“It’s genetic,” Fitts said. “Both parents have to carry the gene to pass it on to a child. Once we realized Chloe had Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, we decided not to have any more biological children, and we decided to adopt children.”

So with Chloe getting care and doing well, into their lives came two more wonderful children, Maya and Lonnie, but then, there was another shock.




“Maya was diagnosed at three years old with hepatoblastoma, that’s a liver cancer. It was stage 4 when she was diagnosed,” Fitts said.

Then, there was more news. Maya, like her mom all those years ago, needed a liver transplant.

“Really, I just couldn’t believe that we were going through this again,” Fitts said. “It was just mind-boggling I guess.”

The story is still being written, but all three children, and their parents, are now doing well.

Norma felt inspired to write it all down, from a sick child in the spotlight, to a mother, worried sick about her own child.

“Some passages that I wrote, I was crying as I wrote them and then some passages that I wrote I was laughing. There are many happy moments in the book,” Fitts said.

She hopes it will inspire others, about the power of organ donations and children’s cancer research, but also the power of hope and love.

“When someone else has gone through the same thing you have, it helps to hear their stories,” Fitts said.

The book is called “One Child, One Million Prayers, Driving through Hell in a Minivan,” and there will be a book release event this Sunday at 2 p.m. at St. Ann’s Episcopal Church in Windham.


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