Meet Isa, the first Gerber baby born in 2022 and the first with a limb difference

‘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 media.”

Isa Slish of Edmond, Oklahoma is the 2022 Gerber Baby, who was revealed earlier this year following Gerber’s 2022 photo search contest. The baby is the first Gerber to have a limb difference. Isa was born with congenital femoral deficiency, a rare condition that can result in an incomplete or abnormal leg, according to the National Institutes of Health.  “She is fun-loving, a joyous little girl. She loves to laugh and giggle,” Meredith Slish, Isa’s mom, told Good Morning America. “She’s wonderful and we’re so lucky to have her.”

Meredith revealed to TODAY that the Slish family was taken aback when Isa was announced as the iconic baby food company’s new “Chief Growing Officer (CGO)” live on the air. “We are completely overjoyed. This came as quite a surprise “She stated. “Whenever you enter your child in a contest like this, the expectation is that someone looks at her picture, so this is incredible and we are so happy. Isa is a strong, amazing little girl that loves to interact with the world around her and nothing will stop her. Her smile lights up the room and her laughter is irresistible.”

“Before she was born in September of 2021, we knew Isa was special, and she has shown us that every day since she came into our lives,” Slish continued. “While the world around us seeks to embrace individuality and uniqueness, we hope that awareness for limb differences will lead to greater inclusion for children like Isa.” John Slish, Isa’s dad, revealed that the couple learned first learned of their daughter’s limb difference at an ultrasound appointment at 18 weeks. “The medical team that spoke to us just told us that there was a difference in her anatomy. They weren’t quite sure what it was going to amount to,” he recalled.

“But they gave us some resources, educated us on that, and we did some of our own research,” John continued. “When she was born, we were met with more medical teams coming through and just discussing options, available ideas that are out there. She currently sees a specialist at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in Oklahoma City, and we’re seeking a second opinion on a couple of things. We’re fairly certain we will get the same information from that second opinion that we were receiving, that we already know, but yeah, we’re just taking it in and processing it day by day.”

Isa’s mother revealed that one of the reasons they wanted to enter their daughter in Gerber’s contest in the first place was to raise awareness of people who have limb differences.  “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,” Slish said. “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.'” John agreed, adding: “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.”

Isa, Gerber’s twelfth “spokesbaby,” has now followed in the footsteps of last year’s winner, Zane of Florida. Isa was a standout among this year’s Photo Search contest applicants, according to Tarun Malkani, Gerber’s president and CEO.  “Isa’s submission brought smiles to all of our faces, and she truly embodies the idea that every baby is a Gerber baby,” Malkani said in a statement. “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.” Along with the coveted title of Gerber Baby, Isa will receive a year of free Gerber products, $1000 in Gerber children’s apparel, a $1000 gift card from ezpz (which sells dishware for kids), and a $25,000 cash prize. Gerber will also donate her cash prize to the March of Dimes, a non-profit that works to support mothers and babies through maternal and infant health programs.