The Gerber Baby has been an American icon since its inception in 1928, and the contest held each year for that year’s spokesbaby has always been popular amongst adoring parents. Year after year, the baby company has been represented by adorable American tots, but there is something truly remarkable about the 2018 Gerber Baby contest winner, Lucas Warren: in addition to being Gerber-dorable, he has Down syndrome.
That’s right, Lucas is making history as the first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome — or any disability for that matter. I must admit, when I saw the news announced on the TODAY show, I squealed a little, because I am a BIG fan of individuals with Down syndrome and am an advocate for helping others see how wonderful their lives are and how important they are to our society. So, this was VERY welcome news to me!
Lucas’ mom, Cortney, told TODAY that she entered Lucas in the 2018 Gerber Baby contest via Instagram, simply hashtagging the adorable photo of him above.
Gerber President and CEO Bill Partyka said Lucas’ smile won him the prize and captured the hearts of their team.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” he told TODAY. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Lucas’ proud dad Jason Warren says they are hoping Lucas won’t just be an ambassador for Gerber, but for people with special needs as well. “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 said. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Mom Cortney says she also hopes that people will see not just how Down syndrome makes Lucas different, but how much ALIKE he is to all other kids – one who enjoys play, music, and socializing, just like “typical” babies.
I am so, so grateful that Gerber has made this choice for their Gerber Baby this year. The more big brands are willing to step up and use people with disabilities and differences in their advertising, the more our society will see and recognize the value of these precious, essential people to our society. THANK YOU Gerber, and Lucas — I hope you have the most AMAZING year letting your light shine!