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The 2018 Gerber baby was named on Wednesday morning on the American Today show, and he is Lucas Warren, the first child with Down syndrome to receive the honour of, essentially, America’s cutest baby.
The 1-year-old from Dalton, Georgia, US, was selected as “Gerber Spokesbaby” from more than 140,000 photos submitted by parents.
His mother, Cortney Warren, entered Lucas in the 90-year-old contest when a relative mentioned that Gerber put out its annual call for adorable babies, she told Today. Warren posted a photo of Lucas sporting a polka dot bow tie and an open-mouthed grin on Instagram and tagged Gerber.
“Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s long-standing heritage of recognising that every baby is a Gerber baby,” Partyka said. “This year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
Other parents, especially those who have children with Down syndrome, celebrated.
“In a puddle of tears over here… my mama heart is so so thankful… when Bodie was born I believed a lie, that others would not value him as much as I do. But, today is a new day. It is such a beautiful, good day,”
Instagram user nicki_bloms wrote: “As a mama currently carrying a cutie with an extra chromosome this made my day!!! Thank you Gerber!! ”
User catfishwithketchup commented on Lucas’ Instagram photo: “My older sister has Down syndrome and she inspired my husband and I to start our family by adopting a baby with Down syndrome. That baby is almost 8 now and I’m so optimistic for her future opportunities thanks to initiatives like this. Thank you for celebrating the diversity of the human condition! He’s gorgeous! Awesome selection!”
Lucas’ father, Jason Warren, said he hopes this will bring more acceptance for people with conditions such as Down syndrome.
“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,” Jason Warren told “Today.” “They have the potential to change the world, just like everybody else.”
Cortney Warren told Today she is excited for the honour, but she wants her son to be recognised as the funny, outgoing, music-loving child he is.
“He may have Down syndrome, but he’s always Lucas first,” she said. “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.”