Eighteen-month-old Lucas Warren has become the first child with Down’s syndrome to be named the “Spokesbaby” by the US baby food brand Gerber in its 91-year history.
Lucas from Dalton, Georgia managed to win the judges this year with his “glowing and giggly smile” and was chosen among more than 140,000 entries for the eighth Gerber Baby Photo Search contest, Gerber said in a press release.
“Lucas’ winning smile and joyful expression won our hearts this year, and we are all thrilled to name him our 2018 Spokesbaby,” Gerber’s president and CEO Bill Partyka said in an official statement.
Gerber started the annual photo contest in 2010.
Lucas’ family will get a $50,000 prize money and Lucas will appear on Gerber’s social media channels and featured in its ads through the year.
“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,” she added.
Down syndrome is a genetic disorder caused when abnormal cell division results in an extra full or partial copy of chromosome 21. The extra copy changes how a baby’s body and brain develop and can lead to mental and physical challenges.
Many on social media, including relatives of people with Down’s syndrome and advocacy groups, welcomed the announcement.
Ann Turner Cook, who recently celebrated her 91st birthday, was the original Gerber baby. A black-and-white sketch of her face became Gerber’s iconic logo in 1928