Gerber, the iconic baby food brand, is making an amazing change in its branding. On Wednesday, the company announced that for the first time, an infant with Down syndrome would carry the coveted Gerber baby title — and he's every bit as adorable as you're probably imagining.
According to People, Gerber selected 1-year-old Lucas Warren as its new face after sifting through an incredible 140,000 photo submissions sent by proud parents from all over the country. Lucas and his parents, Jason and Cortney Warren, traveled from their home in Dalton, Georgia, to break the news and share their excitement on the Today show.
"I finally just decided to [enter Lucas in the contest] on a whim," Cortney told Today. "I thought he was adorable, and I thought maybe the world might."
After seeing this precious smile, we can probably all agree that baby Lucas is one of the cutest babies in the world.
"As a father, seeing your child succeed in life and go to school is something I'm looking forward to," Jason added as he fought back his tears.
People reports the Gerber baby photo contest started back in 2010 as a way to engage a broader community. Instead of putting the winner's face on the company's packaging, Gerber awards the child's family with $50,000 and the opportunity to document their baby's life for a year on the company's global social media platforms. The Warrens noted they would be saving the contest money for Lucas' education and that they couldn't wait to show the world just how loving and inspiring children with Down syndrome are.
"I hope it shines a light on the special needs community and shows that they are just like you and me," Cortney said. "They should be accepted, not based on their looks, but on who they are."
Unfortunately, many people still have misconceptions about what it's like to either have or raise a child with Down syndrome, perhaps because the media doesn't often represent many people with the condition. But the more we see and talk about the common chromosomal disorder (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6,000 babies are born with Down syndrome in the United States each year), the more we'll realize people with Down syndrome have accomplished remarkable things. We have no doubt little Lucas will be one of them.