Asia Ford may have finished last in the Rodes City Run 10K race in Louisville this past Saturday, but she is without a doubt a winner in the eyes of everyone who knows her story.
The Kentucky woman has struggled with her weight for years; at her heaviest, she weighed over 470 pounds. She knew something had to change when her then-husband lost a limb due to diabetes, and her children started to worry every time she went to the doctor's office. Through exercise, diet, and sheer determination, Ford has managed to shed a whopping 200 pounds.
Saturday's run marked another fitness milestone for Ford. She handled the first four miles easily, but started having trouble during the last two-mile stretch. According to Ford, she hadn't eaten that morning, her lungs were still weak from a recent bout of pneumonia, and she has having difficulty breathing. It was then that Louisville Metro Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory emerged from his squad car to ask the woman if she needed assistance. "I'm not going to let her quit, so I got out and she immediately grabbed my hand," Lt. Gregory told WHAS 11. After Ford refused to quit, Lt. Gregory held her arm to support her and walked the rest of the two miles with her. Along the way, he chatted with Ford, talked to her son TJ, and even shared his own story of losing his mother to diabetes. Before they knew it, they were already at the finish line.
"Your heart starts to fill up, you get those goose bumps and tingles all over your body," Lt. Gregory said. "When I watched her approach and I started to hear people scream and I let her go right there before the end and to see her raise her hands, there aren't words to express the way I felt seeing her be successful." On her part, Ford is incredibly grateful for the lieutenant's help, even calling him her "angel."
Photos of Lt. Gregory helping Ford cross the finish line have gone viral, racking up tens of thousands of likes and shares. Even Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer posted photos of the two on his Facebook page, showing the emotional impact of a kind and compassionate deed between two strangers. The mayor honored Ford, Lt. Gregory, and photographer Jonathan Roberts in a ceremony held on Monday.
Above: Photo by Jonathan Roberts