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Gerber Baby Isa Is Breaking Disability Barriers While Melting Hearts

Baby food maker Gerber recently announced the photogenic winner of its 12th annual Photo Search. Judges chose 7-month-old Isa Slish because of her “overwhelming happiness and bright, shining personality.”

The winning cutie, from Edmond, Oklahoma, just so happens to be breaking barriers as the first Gerber Baby to have a limb difference. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1 in every 1,900 babies is born with a limb reduction defect in the United States.

“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,” said Meredith Slish, Isa’s mother. “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. We found out when I was 18 weeks pregnant that Isa would be born without a femur or a fibula in her right leg. We hope Isa’s story can bring more awareness for limb differences and create greater inclusion for children like her. Because, just like Isa, they too can be or do anything they want!”

Gerber baby Isa
source: Gerber

This isn’t the first time Gerber has chosen a member of the disability community. In 2018, Lucas Warren of Georgia, who was 18 months old at the time, made headlines as the first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome, a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome. The lengthy roster of Gerber Babies dates back to 1928 when Ann Turner Cook first held the title.

What Does the Gerber Baby Do?

Isa will serve as the 2022 Gerber Spokesbaby which, surprisingly, includes an official spot on Gerber’s Executive Committee as Chief Growing Officer (CGO). And let’s hope that she isn’t a picky eater (like many little ones) because, among her new duties, she’ll serve as Chief Taste Tester to sample new baby food products and, then, provide Gerber’s executive team with “advice.” AmeriDisability could not confirm before press time how her responsive smiles, frowns, cries and spit-ups will translate into food scores and product development!

“Gerber’s Photo Search is an opportunity to celebrate the joy that babies bring. We’re thrilled to welcome Isa to the Gerber family as this year’s Spokesbaby and Chief Growing Officer,” said Tarun Malkani, Gerber President & CEO. “Isa’s submission brought smiles to all of our faces, and she truly embodies the idea that every baby is a Gerber Baby. 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.”

In addition to the opportunity to be featured on Gerber’s social media channels and marketing campaigns throughout the year, Isa and her family were awarded a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber product for up to one year, a CGO wardrobe valued at $1,000 provided by Gerber Childrenswear and a $1,000 gift card from ezpz® for all of Isa’s mealtime dishware and utensils. Gerber will match Isa’s $25,000 cash prize with a donation to support March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs.

“With this year’s donation supporting March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs, Gerber is furthering its long-standing partnership to give every family the best possible start,” said Stacey D. Stewart, President and CEO of March of Dimes. “We’re proud to be part of this year’s Photo Search and join Gerber in congratulating Isa and her family!”

The first Gerber Baby image appeared om Gerber packaging and advertisements | source: Gerber

Model Behavior 

Isa loves spending her days babbling to her older sister Temperance (age 4) and enjoying the breeze outside in the evening with her dad John. Her favorite foods include Gerber Sweet Potato Puffs and Gerber 1st Foods Butternut Squash. Isa is a happy baby and enjoys playing with her hippo and listening to her favorite movie soundtracks.

Shortly after the Gerber announcement, Meredith shared that Isa’s future could include a series of surgeries, potentially on her hip and also on her clubbed foot. The Slish Family is already committed to promoting awareness of limb differences and, for those interested, the family recommends organizations such as the Amputee Coalition and The Lucky Fin Project. These organizations provide an array of relevant, supportive resources.

Congratulations Isa!

Nancy DeVault
Nancy is the managing editor of AmeriDisability. She is an award-winning storyteller passionate about health and happiness.

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