Meet the 2018 Gerber baby, a sweet 1-year-old boy chosen from among 140,000 entries from hopeful parents across America. Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia, is the first baby with Down syndrome to claim the coveted honor of being Gerber’s Spokesbaby.
Since 2010, Gerber has held a yearly contest to find a fresh babyface to represent the brand. Prior to the yearly contest, the charcoal-sketched cherub face of the original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, had been the face of Gerber since 1927.
As the Gerber team poured over the entries of chubby-cheeked tots from across the country, it was Lucas who stood out.
Tears streamed down the face of Lucas’ father, Jason Warren, who was overwhelmed with pride and gratitude that a baby with special needs would win the honor.
“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Cortney Warren told TODAY Parents. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”
Taking a relative’s suggestion, Cortney entered Lucas into the contest, wondering if anyone else would find her son’s smile as infectious as her family did.
His smile, Cortney pointed out, is Lucas’s primary heart-grabbing method.
With tears in his eyes, proud father Jason expressed his desire to see the world become more accepting and loving of people with special needs. “We’re hoping this will impact everyone,” Jason told TODAY.
“[We’re hoping] 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,” Jason continued.
“They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Cortney admitted she has worried her son would be a target for bullies as he grows up. She hopes Lucas will thrive as he enters adulthood someday, looking back on his Gerber baby year with pride.
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” said Cortney. “We’re hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he’ll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability.”
Bill Partyka, president and CEO of Gerber, stated that, “Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby.”
He called Lucas the “perfect fit” for the company’s mantra that every baby is a Gerber baby.
Without even knowing it (yet), young Lucas is charting new territory for differently-abled kids and their families.
Thanks to his bright eyes and grin that won’t quit, the world will have a tangible way to see that a person with Down syndrome is simply a person, worthy of life and love.
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