Are you ready to meet the 2018 Gerber Baby?
For eight years running now, the baby good brand has held a contest to determine its
spokesman spokeschild, but thre's something extra different and special this year:
The Gerber Baby has Down Syndrome.
This is a first, and it's something folks on the Internet are very happy to celebrate.
Learn more below:
A Nearly Century-Old Tradition
A baby has graced Gerber packaging since 1928. But it's a far more recent development for the company to open up this honor to the public.
Enter This Year's Winner
His name is Lucas Warren. He's a one-year-old from Dalton, Georgia - and he's the first child with Down syndrome to be named a Gerber baby since the contest began in 2010.
Such. A. Cutie.
"He's very outgoing and never meets a stranger," Lucas's mom, Cortney, told Today, upon the morning show hosting her and her family. "He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh."
A Surprise Winner
Cortney explained that she entered the Gerber contest after a loved one pointed out an ad seeking submissions. After sharing a picture of Lucas on Instagram using the contest's hashtag, Cortney and her husband, Jason, received the news that their son had been selected... from more than 140,000 entries!
And Why Was He Selected?
Bill Partyka, CEO and president of Gerber, said the toddler's smile and happy expression captured the hearts of the Gerber team, adding: "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."
An Inspiration to Us All
Lucas's dad, Jason, had this to say on TODAY about the homor: "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. They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else."
More from Mom:
"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... we're hoping when he grows up and looks back on this, he'll be proud of himself and not ashamed of his disability."
What is Down Syndrome?
It is a genetic disorder that is caused when abnormal cell division results in extra genetic material from chromosome 21. Down Syndrome causes a distinct facial appearance, intellectual disability, developmental delays and may be associated with thyroid or heart disease.
The Internet Reacts
With positivity for once! It's rare that something out there actually brings social media users together, but this may be the exception.
The Ideal Baby
This really is a pretty cool thing to have happen.
The Global Down Syndrome Foundation has also commented on the distinction, with major praise, of course.
Hooray for Lucas!
We figured we'd toss in another photo here as tribute to Lucas, the 2018 Gerber Baby!
One More for Good Measure
For precious measure, really! AWWWW!