Lucas Warren is like every one-year-old: "He loves to play, loves to laugh, and loves to make other people laugh," his mom, Cortney Warren, tells Today. Now, he's going to be one of the most famous baby faces in the world as the 2018 Gerber spokesbaby. And it's no surprise — just look at that sweet smile!
Lucas isn't just becoming famous, he's also making history. He's the first baby with Down syndrome to become the face of Gerber in the company's 90-year history! “Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 spokesbaby,” Bill Partyka, President and CEO of Gerber, said in a press release. “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.”
It really was fate that Lucas became the new Gerber baby, because his mom hadn't planned to enter him in the contest! Cortney tells Today she entered after a relative showed her an advertisement for the competition. She posted the photo on Instagram with the Gerber contest hashtag #gerberphotosearch2017, where Lucas' photo was chosen from more than 140,000 entries. Not only will Lucas be the face of the baby product brand for the next year, but his family will also receive $50,000.
The Warren family lives in Dalton, GA, where Cortney works part time, and her husband Jason Warren works as a helicopter mechanic for the Georgia National Guard. “This is such a proud moment for us as parents knowing that Lucas has a platform to spread joy, not only to those he interacts with every day, but to people all over the country,” Cortney says. “We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world — just like our Lucas!”
The original Gerber Baby is thrilled for Lucas.
Lucas is already receiving praise from the very first Gerber baby, 91-year-old Ann Turner Cook. "Let me offer my warmest congratulations to Lucas, our newest Gerber spokesbaby, and to his parents," Cook says. "There is no greater privilege than to be a universal symbol for babies all over the world. I am delighted to take part in this celebration. Lucas is precious, and I look forward to watching him grow this year!”
Gerber started hosting an annual photo search for its spokesbaby in 2010. This year, the company also gave awards to 12 additional cute kids in the "Giggles and Wiggles" and "Best Dressed" groups. The winners of "Giggles and Wiggles" receive $500 and a year's worth of Gerber and Purina merchandise. The "Best Dressed" winners receive $500, $250 worth of Gerber children's clothes, and Gerber products for an entire year. Congratulations to Lucas and the other giggly, wiggly, and best-dressed babies — we can't wait to see more photos!
This post was written by Jennifer Aldrich. It originally appeared on our sister site, Woman's World.