President & CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten reflects upon & celebrates first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome | Global Down Syndrome Foundation

President & CEO, Michelle Sie Whitten reflects upon & celebrates first Gerber Baby with Down syndrome

As the head of Global Down Syndrome Foundation and as the mother of a 14-year old with Down syndrome, I believe I speak on behalf of a large community when I say I am thrilled and deeply appreciative that Lucas Warren has been selected as the 2018 Gerber Spokesbaby! To be chosen from 140,000 other contestants is truly remarkable – all the more so because Lucas happens to have Down syndrome.

While the human and civil rights movement of the 1960s and 1970s have afforded us many gains, there is still widespread discrimination against people with Down syndrome (for example in schools and medical practices), primarily due to lack of education. To have Lucas be the Gerber Spokesbaby for the entire year is a huge step towards awareness and inclusion.

In the U.S. we can proudly point to ethnic and gender diversity, but we still have a ways to go in promoting the differently-abled. Sesame Street was perhaps first with a child in a wheelchair being featured. Today we can thank OshKosh, Target, Babies “R” Us, Old Navy, Kmart and other stores for highlighting the differently-abled, including models with Down syndrome in their advertisements.

The Gerber Baby choice is perhaps even more meaningful since the historic marketing emphasizes the “perfect baby.” An aspiration for what all parents presumably want – a baby that is beautiful, healthy, and happy. By choosing Lucas, I believe the message is that babies with Down syndrome are no different from typical babies and can be seen as adorably perfect.

Everyone at the Global office was bouncing off the walls today for this small, but important victory in awareness. We congratulate the Warren family and Gerber, and we look forward to supporting all of Lucas’ efforts throughout 2018 as “the” Gerber Spokesbaby.​


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Lucas Warren became the first Gerber Baby with Down Syndrome. And at a Denver charity, it couldn’t be more ecstatic.

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