‘Gerber made a loud statement’: Parents of local girl with Down syndrome react to new Gerber baby

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WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- McNeil and Kelly Cronin have come a long way from the fear and anxiety they first felt when their daughter Quinn was born and diagnosed with Down syndrome.

“It is really scary,” Kelly said. “You don't know what to expect, and you don't know what you're in for.”

So, when they read the announcement Wednesday that Gerber's newest spokesbaby was an 18-month-old boy with Down syndrome, it hit close to home.

“The fact that a big company like Gerber would choose as their poster baby, their perfect baby, a baby with Down syndrome, as parents of a little girl with Down syndrome, that's everything we could ask for,” McNeil said.

A spokesperson for Gerber says the boy, Lucas Warren of Dalton, Georgia, will be featured on its social media pages.

He's the first child with Down syndrome ever picked as the company's spokesbaby.

“Gerber made a loud statement, a powerful statement,” McNeil said. “It walks the walk of acceptance and inclusion in a really big and meaningful way.”

It’s a lesson the father of three says all parents should teach their children whether they have special needs or not.

“There's so much more that we all have in common than the differences we share,” he said.

“You really can do anything that you want to do,” he said. “There is no ceiling to your potential, even individuals with Down syndrome. They can do anything.”

Gerber chose Lucas’ picture out of 140,000 entries.

As the grand prize winner, Lucas' family will receive $50,000.

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