Gerber is making history with its 2018 spokesbaby.
On Wednesday the company announced that the winner of its annual Gerber Baby Photo Search is Lucas Warren, a one-year-old from Dalton, Georgia.
Warren is the first baby with Down syndrome to join the Gerber Family since the Gerber Baby contest began in 2010, and his mother and father visited The Today Show to share just how important the milestone 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,” Lucas’ dad, Jason, told Today. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Lucas’ mom, Cortney, entered his photo into the contest on a whim. She’s most excited to see how the world reacts to the news.
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” she 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.”
Lucas was chosen out of more than 140,000 spokesbaby entries, and he reportedly won over Gerber CEO and president Bill Partyka and his team with his heartwarming smile.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” Partyka told Today. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Before the contest was introduced in 2010, the face of original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook — who just turned 91-years-old — was featured on the brand’s products. A sketch of Cook became Gerber’s official trademark in 1931, which means this is the company’s first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome in nearly 90 years.
It’s still crucial to raise awareness and increase representation of different identities and members of the disability community on all levels. And now, we’ll all have the pleasure of seeing Lucas’ outgoing grin on the popular Gerber baby food and packaging for the next year.