T-bird uses own experience to write support book for caregivers

When Renée (Hevenor) Norman ’83 and Christopher Heald Norman ’83 graduated from Thunderbird, the world was wide open to them. Three years out of graduate school, the couple married. They moved to Richmond, Virginia. They had two children, Charlie and Clemie. From the looks of things, their future was bright. But 21 years into their marriage, everything changed. 

On Oct. 5, 2007, just one day before his 50th birthday, Chris was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease), a fatal, progressive neuromuscular disease that eventually paralyzes its sufferers. After Chris’ diagnosis, Renée became his constant, loving caregiver until he “passed away with grace and ease” just 13 months later. From this journey, Renée’s new book A Million Tiny Things, My Experience in Caregiving was born.

“My goal [with this book] is to start a discussion and education for the almost one in three adults in the U.S. who are currently a caregiver,” says Renée, who realized immediately when she began to care for Chris that there was no road map or how-to manual for caregivers. Renée calls A Million Tiny Things her “gift to all of those taking the often thankless path of caregiving for a loved one.” 

Described on the book’s website ( as a “a bare-knuckle retelling of the reality of this tragically debilitating and fatal disease and a loved one’s work in dealing with its impact on her husband, her children and herself,” A Million Tiny Things offers other caregivers not just support and encouragement, but real, applicable advice.  

“Thanks to Renée’s meticulous note-taking and list-making, caregivers finally have a handy reference guide… with practical tools,” the book jacket notes. “At the same time, her compelling story brings awareness to the need to be a proactive advocate for your loved one — sometimes in unexpected areas.”

For more information about the book and caregiver support tools and references, visit  

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