Meet Lucas Warren.
The 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia, was named this year’s Gerber “spokesbaby” after the company’s annual photo search. Out of more than 140,000 entries, baby Lucas was chosen. The big news was announced on the Today show, where Lucas appeared with his proud parents, Cortney and Jason.
Adorable (and very photogenic!) Lucas has also made history: He’s the first child with Down syndrome to be named a Gerber baby since the online contest began back in 2010, according to Today.
“He’s very outgoing and never meets a stranger,” Cortney told Today. “He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh.”
The Georgia mom decided to enter the contest on a “whim” when a family member mentioned Gerber was seeking submissions. From thousands of babies, explained Gerber’s CEO and president Bill Partyka, Lucas had been picked thanks to his charming smile and cheerful expression.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby,” Bill explained. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Lucas’ parents will also receive the $50,000 prize that comes with being the parents of a Gerber baby, a “life-changing” award that they intend to put toward their son’s education. They also hope Lucas’ role as this year’s spokesbaby will raise awareness for kids with special needs.
“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,” Jason said. “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” Cortney added. “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.”
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