The 2018 Gerber baby meets all the usual criteria to be a winner—namely, being adorable and happy—but 1-year-old Lucas Warren stands out for another reason: He’s the first child with Down syndrome to be selected as the “Gerber Spokesbaby.”
ADORABLE: The winning smile goes to 18-month-old Lucas Warren, the first baby with Down syndrome to be awarded first place for the Gerber baby contest in its 91-year history. https://t.co/kMU6jIvA81 pic.twitter.com/50N7seYkOa— Fox News (@FoxNews) February 8, 2018
Warren, who’s from Dalton, Georgia, won the distinction from more than 140,000 photos that were submitted from parents across the country. His mother, Cortney Warren, submitted a photo of him wearing a green shirt, polka dot tie, and with a huge grin on his face. That smile was what caught the company’s eye.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s long-standing heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Bill Partyka, chief executive and president of Gerber. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Many parents, particularly those who have children with Down syndrome, did just that.
“In a puddle of tears over here…my mama heart is so so thankful…when Bodie was born I believed a lie, that others would not value him as much as I do. But, today is a new day. It is such a beautiful, good day,” Instagram user samanthajob wrote.
Another user, catfishwithketchup, commented on Warren’s Instagram photo: “My older sister has Down syndrome and she inspired my husband and I to start our family by adopting a baby with Down syndrome. That baby is almost 8 now and I’m so optimistic for her future opportunities thanks to initiatives like this. Thank you for celebrating the diversity of the human condition! He’s gorgeous! Awesome selection!”
Warren’s father, Jason Warren, was hopeful his son’s new role as Gerber Spokesbaby will bring increased awareness and acceptance of people with Down syndrome.
“We’re hoping this will impact everyone — that it will shed a little bit of light on the special needs community and help more individuals with special needs be accepted and not limited,” he told “Today.” “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
I’m so glad that everyone is celebrating Lucas- the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome. But the elephant in the room is that in many western countries unborn babies with Down Syndrome are being detected by tests & most are killed. #GenocideInTheWomb pic.twitter.com/57LPmVjt3p— Obianuju Ekeocha (@obianuju) February 7, 2018
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” his mother told “Today.” “He’s got an awesome personality, and he goes through the milestones of every child. .?.?. We’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability.”