Seven-month-old Isa Slish has a bright smile, an adorable squealing laugh and a right leg that does not work properly.
On Wednesday, the Gerber baby food company named Isa as its 2022 Gerber Baby, an honor that her parents hope will raise awareness about children with limb disabilities, according to People magazine.
The Edmond, Oklahoma baby was born without a femur or fibula in her right leg, her mother, Meredith, said. Despite her disability, she said Isa is a “strong, amazing little girl.”
“We knew Isa was special, she has shown us that every day since she came into our lives,” Meredith said. “We found out when I was 18 weeks pregnant that Isa would be born without a femur or a fibula in her right leg.”
She told Good Morning America that her daughter’s name means courage, strength and perseverance.
Isa’s father, John, said they have had a lot of discussions with medical professionals about their daughter’s leg, and they are still considering options for her future.
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“When she was born, we were met with more medical teams coming through and just discussing options, available ideas that are out there,” he told Good Morning America. “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.”
Through the Gerber campaign, the family expressed hope that Isa’s story will help other children with disabilities to recognize their value.
“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!” her mother 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.’”
Tarun Malkani, president and CEO of Gerber, said Isa’s bright eyes and smile immediately caught their attention when they were searching for the next Gerber baby.
“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.”
Isa’s parents said she loves playing with her stuffed hippo and listening to music from her favorite movies. Her favorite foods are butternut squash and Gerber Sweet Potato Puffs.