Cancer survivor makes history as 1st female Tiny Tim in Goodman Theatre's 'A Christmas Carol'

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A brave and determined young actress from the far western suburbs is about to take center stage in a beloved Chicago stage tradition.

Paris Strickland survived life-threatening cancer and is now celebrating her talent and bright future.

For 40 years, the Goodman Theatre has been producing their annual "A Christmas Carol." There have been 29 Tiny Tims in all races and ethnicities. Strickland will make history as the first female Tiny Tim.

"I think it's really cool because I get to experience a part that not many girls got to play in the past years and it's an inspiring role," Strickland said.

It's inspiring because during rehearsal, finding her character's motivation may not be a stretch for Paris. At 9 days old, she was diagnosed with a rare and deadly childhood cancer. Her illness was documented in a book by her mother, Lauren Strickland.

"We started treatment at 10 days old. She's been through chemo, radiation, antibody treatment, clinical trials, pretty much anything we've been through and tried it," Lauren Strickland said.

The ordeal has left the 4th grader with a limp and a smaller stature for her age. But otherwise, OK.

"I feel I'm perfect for this role, because I kind of went through what Tiny Tim was going through. I got the part, so that makes sense. I maybe had a hard time in the beginning of life," Paris Strickland said.

"She was really eager to hear what we wanted from her. She just was able to absorb ideas in the audition room in a way that I thought was amazing for a 10 year old," said Henry Wishcamper, the show's director.

The 40th production of the Goodman's "A Christmas Carol" begins Nov. 18. This famous line, which sums up the Dickens' classic, seems even more poignant when it comes from this Tiny Tim.

"God bless us, every one!"
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