A 1-year-old baby boy from Georgia has become the first child with Down Syndrome to win the Gerber baby contest.
Lucas Warren was chosen out of a pool of 140,000 contestants as the winner of the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby contest.
Lucas is the first child with Down Syndrome to win the contest since it began 90 years ago.
“Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby,” Bill Partyka, president and CEO of Gerber, said in a statement. “Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby, and this year, Lucas is the perfect fit.”
And after seeing his entry, you will agree!
Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber Baby, said she is really excited to welcome Lucas into the family.
"I know you will take great pride in representing Gerber this year, as I have for the past 90 years," she said. "There is no greater privilege than to be a universal symbol for babies all over the world. I am delighted to take part in this celebration. Lucas is precious, and I look forward to watching him grow this year!” she said in a statement.
Lucas's mother doesn't want his disability to define him.
"He may have Down syndrome, but he's always Lucas first," his mother Cortney 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."
The winning entry featured the young baby in a polka-dot tie and his winning smile spread across his cheeks.
Cortney describes her son as someone who loves to be around people. "He's very outgoing and never meets a stranger," Lucas's mom, Cortney, told TODAY Parents. "He loves to play, loves to laugh and loves to make other people laugh."
As the winner of the contest, Lucas's family will receive $50,000 and be featured on Gerber's social media accounts throughout the year.
Cortney entered the contest on a whim after a relative pointed out the ad looking for submissions.
“We hope this opportunity sheds light on the special needs community and educates people that with acceptance and support, individuals with special needs have the potential to change the world — just like our Lucas,” Lucas’ mom Cortney Warren said in a statement.