During a prenatal appointment at 18 weeks, Isa Slish’s parents learned that their baby girl had a limb difference. Now, Gerber has announced Isa as its 2022 Gerber baby.
The seven-month-old “strong, amazing little girl” from Oklahoma will be the company’s “Chief Growing Officer (CGO)” for the next year, taste-testing their new baby food purees. Isa has a congenital femoral deficiency, a rare condition that can cause a leg to grow incompletely. She also has fibular hemimelia, which is defined as the partial or complete absence of the fibula bone between the knee and ankle.
“She is a fun-loving, a joyous little girl. She loves to laugh and giggle,” Isa’s mom, Meredith Slish, told Good Morning America. “She’s wonderful and we’re so lucky to have her.”
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Meredith and her husband, John Slish, first heard Isa’s diagnosis during an ultrasound appointment. “The medical team that spoke to us just told us that there was a difference in her anatomy,” explained John. “They weren’t quite sure what it was going to amount to.”
Thankfully, the doctors provided Isa’s parents with resources and they did some of their own research as well. After Isa’s birth, they were able to meet with specialists to discuss the available options for their daughter, whose name means strength, courage, and perseverance. The couple said they wanted to enter Isa in the Gerber baby contest in the hope of bringing more visibility to people who live with limb differences.
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“Not only do we think that (Isa) is just absolutely wonderful, beautiful, but we also wanted to use this as a way to help raise awareness for children born with limb differences. We hope she can be kind of the baby that other children with limb differences look at and say, ‘There’s somebody like me who is portrayed in books or media,'” said Meredith.
John added, “The overarching message for her story is representation matters. It really does and when you learn of things of this nature, about your children or people in your lives, representation truly does matter.”
In addition to acting as CGO and taste tester, Isa will receive free Gerber products for a year, $1,000 in Gerber children’s apparel, a $1,000 gift card from ezpz, and a $25,000 cash prize.
“Isa’s submission brought smiles to all of our faces, and she truly embodies the idea that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Tarun Malkani, Gerber’s president and CEO. “We could not be more excited to work with Isa and her family throughout this next year to find moments of joy for every Gerber baby.”
Meredith said it was simple to enter Isa into the contest and that they went outside, took some photos, and submitted them. “I think just celebrate your kiddo,” she said. “We were really excited that Gerber allowed us to submit a collage because she has such beautiful cheeks and eyelashes. But also we wanted to be able to show all of her, to celebrate everything that she is.”
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