The 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby is bringing smiles to faces across America. Lucas is the first Gerber baby with Down syndrome. The original Gerber baby in the iconic charcoal sketch is now more than 90-years-old. Her face still accompanies every Gerber product, and for the past several years Gerber has held a photo search to find a new face for the company to be featured on social media and national campaigns.
Anyone who sees the snapshot of Lucas that his mother submitted to the contest can understand why the one-year-old won. His beaming face captures the infectious joy his parents say he brings to everyone he meets. Mom Cortney Warren entered with little expectation of winning but was confident her son is adorable and thought other people might think so, too. She said, “I’ve never met anyone to come in contact with Lucas and not smile.” When she and husband, Jason, received the news that their son had been selected out of more than 14,000 entries they were in disbelief.
Gerber CEO and President Bill Partyka explained, “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby. This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
At a time when babies with Down syndrome face deadly discrimination in the womb, Lucas’s role as the Gerber Spokesbaby highlights the humanity of all babies. This fact did not escape Cortney, who said, “I hope it shines light to the special needs community, showing that they are just like you and me. They should be accepted, not based on their looks but on who they are.” Prenatal genetic testing has led to an alarming increase in the number of babies with Down syndrome killed in abortion simply because they are seen as less than perfect. In some anti-Life countries, almost all babies with Down syndrome are killed in abortion. Even as a strongly Pro-Life state, Texas does not yet have a law protecting babies with Down syndrome from the violence of abortion.
Lucas’s role as this year’s face of one of America’s leading brands shows that his disability does not define him. As Today host Savannah Guthrie said, “The Gerber baby is the ideal baby, and, Lucas, you are the ideal baby.” Along with Lucas, other people with Down syndrome have won contests and walked the catwalk in recent years shattering expectations of what was once thought possible and paving the way for boys and girls with disabilities.
Lucas’s big win comes with a $50,000 prize that his parents plan to put toward his education.