FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (WPRI/AP) — One-year-old Lucas Warren’s contagious smile won over executives at Gerber baby food who have made him their “spokesbaby” this year.
Lucas is Gerber’s first spokesbaby with Down syndrome in the company’s 91-year history.
Chief Executive Officer for the Special Olympics in Rhode Island Denny DeJesus said Lucas isn’t only making history, but he’s also making strides in the Special Olympics world.
“That’s what today is all about,” DeJesus said. “Acceptance and inclusion. I think our athletes every day of their lives fight for those concepts.”
His photo was chosen out of more than 140,000 submissions. He will receive $50,000, and the Dalton, Georgia, boy’s image will be featured in the company’s social media posts.
Lucas’ mom, Cortney Warren, says she hopes this will bring help increase the acceptance of special needs kids.
DeJesus said nationally, 85 percent of people with an intellectual disability can’t find a job. He hopes this move by Gerber can truly make a difference for all those like Lucas.
“I think Gerber opened up some doors today,” DeJesus said. “I think there’s an opportunity to open up more doors. Giving our athletes and those with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to showcase their talents and be out in the forefront. Isn’t that wonderful.”