The 2018 Gerber baby is sure to win over hearts everywhere with his light-up-the-room smile — and he's making history in the process. One-year-old Lucas Warren of Dalton, Georgia, is the first "spokesbaby" in the 90-year history of the Gerber Baby photo contest to have Down syndrome, Today announced Wednesday.
"Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber's longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby," said Gerber president and CEO Bill Partyka. "This year, Lucas is the perfect fit."
Lucas' mom, Cortney, said of her son: "He may have Down syndrome, but he's always Lucas first. He's got an awesome personality, and he goes through the milestones of every child." She added, "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' photo was picked from more than 140,000 submissions. His parents told Today that they plan to put the $50,000 prize money toward Lucas' education.
"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," said Lucas' dad, Jason. "They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else."
Meet Lucas and learn more of his story below. Jeva Lange