Four-month-old Zane Kahin was announced as the new Gerber baby on TODAY, surprising his parents, Micheal and Erin, live on the air. It was just the latest happy surprise for the family: Erin and Mike hoped to have children but weren’t sure if Erin would be able to conceive naturally after undergoing treatment for breast cancer at the age of 27.
Erin told TODAY that being diagnosed with cancer in her 20s was a whirlwind. She underwent a double mastectomy, chemotherapy and radiation, and she wasn’t sure how her treatment would affect her chances of being a mom someday — something she knew was important to her.
When Erin and Mike got married and decided to start a family, she was prepared to go though fertility treatments to get pregnant. It was a very happy surprise when Zane came along with no interventions.
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More than 90,000 parents entered their babies in this year’s Gerber baby contest. For the Kahins, it started as a joke — Mike always joked about how everyone says every baby is cute. When he stumbled on the Gerber contest, he thought finally, a way to actually find out if Zane is cute.
Now they know!
The Kahin family won a $25,000 cash prize, free Gerber products for up to 1 year and a wardrobe valued at $1,000 provided by Gerber Childrenswear. The company will also be offering a bodysuit and T-shirt design inspired by Zane; for every purchase, Gerber Childrenswear will make a product donation of equal value to the charity Delivering Good.
Being a Gerber baby is more than just looking cute; Zane will be the official “Chief Taste Tester” for new baby food products in addition to serving as the company’s “Chief Growing Officer.”
It’s all in a baby’s day’s work for Zane, a giggly boy with an infectious laugh. “Zane is our little comedian — he loves to crack himself up and even wakes up laughing,” Erin said. He especially enjoys his bouncer and bonding with the family dogs, Rexy and Liv, according to his parents.
The original Gerber baby is Ann Turner Cook, who became the face of Gerber products after family friend Dorothy Hope Smith sketched a charcoal portrait of her as an infant and submitted it to Gerber in 1928 for a contest to find the official face of the company.
Cook, a Tampa native, is a retired English teacher and a mystery novelist. In 2018, she met the then-current Gerber baby Lucas Warren, who was the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome. “Ann Turner Cook is truly a wonderful woman and pleasure to be around,” Lucas’ proud parents, Cortney and Jason, told TODAY.
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