For decades, parents have been sending in photos of their bright-eyed youngsters for consideration in the annual Gerber Baby contest. Each spokesbaby enjoys the adoration of the nation, as well as a cash prize and gifts.
These days, with photo sharing being practically effortless, users can enter on social media. That’s how Cortney Warren shared a photo of her 18-month-old, Lucas, with Gerber – she tagged the company in a photo of him on Instagram.
The CEO of Gerber, Bill Partyka, was as enamored with the little boy’s smile as anyone. “Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby,” he shared in a statement.
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Lucas is also the first baby to be chosen with Down Syndrome. Down Syndrome is a disorder of the chromosomes that affects approximately 1 in 700 babies born annually. But this year, Lucas won out over 140,000 other babies who entered the contest.
His father, Jason Warren, told the Today show that he’s glad the win brings more attention to those with special needs, who he says should be “…accepted, not limited. They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.” Mom Cortney is looking forward to the day when Lucas can look back on this achievement with pride.
Lucas’ victory as the 2018 Gerber Baby has already touched parents and loved ones of individuals with Down Syndrome.
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Lucas may be considered different by some, but his role as the Gerber Baby is the same as it would be for any other winner. He’ll be featured in the company’s social media campaigns throughout 2018. He also wins $50,000 in cash, some of which his parents are putting toward his education.
The image of the original Gerber baby, Ann Turner Cook, will continue to be the company’s official logo. The 91-year-old is a retired teacher and mystery novelist.