For 90 years, the Gerber baby has been selected to represent warmth and joy. With those criteria, it’s hard to imagine a face that's any better suited than that of sweet Lucas Warren, the newly selected Gerber Spokesbaby for 2018—and the first-ever Gerber baby with Down syndrome.
“Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby,” says Gerber President and CEO Bill Partyka in a statement about the 18-month-old from Dalton, Georgia. “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby, and this year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Lucas began his official responsibilities as the Gerber baby with a television debut on TODAY this morning.
Lucas was selected from a pool of 140,000 tough competitors. In return for sharing his joyful smile with the world, Lucas will earn $50,000, which his parents plan to apply toward his education.
“As a father, seeing your child exceed in life and go to school, it’s something I’m looking forward to,” Lucas’s dad, Jason, says on TODAY. “I just want him to look back and say, ‘I was the Gerber baby. Look at everything I did.’”
For now, it seems Lucas seems to take his job of spreading happiness very seriously.
“He's very outgoing and never meets a stranger," mom Cortney tells TODAY. "He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”
It’s that smile that Cortney hopes people will remember above all else after meeting Lucas.
“He may have Down syndrome, but he's always Lucas first," Cortney says. “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.”
Lucas is also helping provide important representation for the 6,000 American babies born with Down syndrome each year. Although the condition occurs because of an extra chromosome, the range of abilities of people with Down syndrome varies widely—with many going on to accomplish great things, just like Lucas already is.
“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,” says dad Jason. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Congrats to Lucas—and a big thanks, too, for sharing your smile with the world! ❤️