The 2018 Gerber baby has been announced. His name is is Lucas Warren, a 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia who is the first child with Down syndrome ever to be named a Gerber baby since the contest began back in 2010.
“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Lucas’s mom, Cortney, told TODAY Parents. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh. Cortney Warren explained how she entered the Gerber competition very much on a whim after a friend pointed out the ad for submissions.
Courtney posted a photo of Lucas on Instagram using the contest’s hashtag. Her and husband Jason were staggered to find out that their son had been picked out from over 140,000 entries to be the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby.
Meet Lucas, the smily 18-month-old from Dalton, Georgia. He is the 2018 Gerber baby and the first ever official Gerber baby with Down syndrome. pic.twitter.com/Dc1m3FUZ8w
— CBS News (@CBSNews) February 7, 2018
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” said Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber Partyka. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
“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,” dad Jason Warren added. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
“We believe if brands represent children with a disability, they are communicating their value to our society,” said Katie Driscoll, the founder and president of Changing the Face of Beauty, a non-profit organization that advocates for fair and equal representation of people with disabilities in adverting and media. “Moves like this move us closer to a more inclusive world.”
Meet the new Gerber baby, Lucas!
He's the 1st child with Down Syndrome to be given the title, an incredible testament to the joy that people who may look different than us can bring.#SaveTheBabyHumans pic.twitter.com/5niGZZcojt
— Devin Sena (@DevinSenaUI) February 8, 2018
Other parents with Down syndrome welcomed the news with utter joy.
“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,” wrote one user wrote on Instagram.
As a mama currently carrying a cutie with an extra chromosome this made my day!!! Thank you Gerber!!” another added.
“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!”
Lucas’ mom hopes that one day her son will look back on this and be mighty proud of his achievement.
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” Courtney explained. “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.”
So what exactly is the Gerber baby?
- The Gerber baby logo began started back in 1928 when the company invited people to send in baby face portraits. The winning drawing, submitted by Dorothy Hope Smith, is still the company’s logo today. It became totally synonymous with the brand itself.
Now, during the competition period, people send in pictures of their child and one is chosen to represent the brand. The “spokesbaby” does not replace the Gerber baby icon however the portrait is used to market and represent the brand on many of its products.