The results are in: The newest Gerber baby melts hearts with her joyful giggle and loves to snuggle.
She is also the first Gerber baby with a limb difference, as baby Isa Slish from Oklahoma was born missing part of her right leg.
The seven-month-old was announced as the winner of the 2022 Gerber Photo Search on TODAY Wednesday, surprising her parents, Meredith and John, live on the air.
"We are completely ecstatic. This was such a big surprise," Meredith told TODAY Parents. "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."
Almost on cue as the news was shared, Isa beamed at the TODAY Third Hour hosts while sitting on her mom's lap.
“Isa is a strong, amazing little girl that loves to interact with the world around her and nothing will stop her,” Meredith shared. “Her smile lights up the room and her laughter is irresistible.”
Isa was born with Congenital Femoral Deficiency and Fibular Hemimelia.
“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,” Meredith said, adding the couple found out at 18 weeks that Isa would be born without a femur or a fibula in her right leg. “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.”
Meredith shared with TODAY Parents that if she could tell other parents facing a similar diagnosis one thing, it would be that "there is hope."
According to Gerber, Isa's hobbies include playing with her toy hippo, enjoying the breeze and babbling to big sister Temperance, 4.
"Her older sister Tempy absolutely adores her," Meredith said of her daughters. "They have a great bond."
The couple told TODAY Parents later Wednesday morning that Isa's big sister didn't know the exciting news yet.
"We have not gotten a chance yet to give her a call, but we are anticipating she will be so excited," John said.
More than 225,000 entries were submitted to Gerber for this year’s search, with the only requirement being that the baby be 0-48 months old and live in the 50 United States, D.C. or Puerto Rico.
"One of the things that has been so special for us, is that she was chosen for her wonderful personality, her smile, her cheeks, her giggles, but also as a baby who represents diversity," Meredith explained. "We are so happy that she can hopefully bring awareness to children born with limb differences and that is really special for us."
Meredith said Isa's cash prize would be set aside for her medical care.
In addition to a $25,000 prize for baby Isa, Gerber is contributing a matching donation this year to support March of Dimes’ maternal and infant health programs, ensuring both parents and babies thrive.
"I think it’s amazing to know that the additional resource is going to be provided to babies and mothers," John told TODAY Parents. "I wouldn’t have asked for anything else other than that. There's so much need."
Baby Isa's new role as a Gerber baby is more than just looking cute. She will be serving as the company’s “Chief Growing Officer” which includes helping the next generation of babies grow and thrive, as well as taking on the role of official “Chief Taste Tester” for new baby food products.
“We hope Isa’s story can bring more awareness for limb differences and create greater inclusion for children like her," Meredith said. "Because, just like Isa, they, too, can be or do anything they want."
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