Meet Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old baby from Dalton, Georgia. The outgoing infant was recently named the 2018 Gerber baby. He is the first infant with Down syndrome to be named a Gerber baby since the contest began in 2010.
Lucas’s mom, Cortney, told TODAY Parents:
“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger. He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”
Cortney said she entered Lucas into the Gerber contest on a whim. A relative pointed out an ad seeking submissions, so she posted a photo of the 1-year-old on her Instagram and used the contest’s hashtags. Before long, Cortney and her husband, Jason, received the news that Lucas was chosen to be the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby. All in all, there were more than 140,000 entries.
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) February 7, 2018
Said Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber:
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby. This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Partyka added that Lucas’s smile and charming expression won over the hearts of the entire Gerber team.
“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,” said Lucas’s dad, Jason. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Cortney hopes her son is not just seen as a baby with Down syndrome, but as a funny, energetic child who loves music and socializing.
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” said Cortney. “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.”
Katie Driscoll, founder and president of Changing the Face of Beauty — a non-profit that advocates for equal representation of people with disabilities in advertising and media, applauded the development.
”We believe if brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” said Driscoll. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world.”
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Image credit: Gerber/Cortney Warren