The next Gerber baby will be this adorable boy with Down syndrome

One-year-old Lucas Warren has been named the brand's "spokesbaby" for 2018

Published February 7, 2018 4:45PM (EST)

Lucas Warren (Gerber)
Lucas Warren (Gerber)

In what must be counted as a win for representation in the media, Gerber has named 18-month-old Lucas Warren, who has Down syndrome, as its new "spokesbaby" for 2018. The first child living with the condition to get the post, Warren will appear on the brand's various social media, advertising and marketing channels for the duration of the year.

For the last eight years, Gerber has opened up the casting of its Gerber baby — an American institution since 1927 — to the public at large. Parents are encouraged to submit images of their infants to the company via the internet for consideration. This year, it was reported that Warren was picked out over 140,000 contenders. His parents will be paid $50,000 for allowing him to appear in various Gerber campaigns.

"Every year, we choose the baby who best exemplifies Gerber’s longstanding heritage of recognizing that every baby is a Gerber baby," Gerber CEO Bill Partyka said in a statement. "This year, Lucas is the perfect fit."

Warren's parents seem to appreciate the honor, but his mother, Cortney Warren, spoke to what is clearly the most monumental part of his selection. "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," she said in a statement.

Individuals with Down syndrome, a genetic condition that is often marked by delayed intellectual development and a number of physical manifestations, are rarely seen in media in a way that highlights or appreciates their presence in the general population (the Centers for Disease Control estimates that 1 in every 700 children born in the U.S. has Down syndrome). Due to the ways their condition surfaces, they are often bullied or marginalized in society. Warren's beaming smile appearing on the social feeds of a major brand that is often associated with the health and care of children offers a strong counter to that.

The National Down Syndrome Society, a leading non-profit organization advocating for those with the condition, tweeted out their gratitude in response to the news.

By Gabriel Bell

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