What a compassionate city looks like: Lt. Aubrey Gregory helps Asia Ford cross finish line at Rodes 10k this morning. Thanks to photographer Jonathan Roberts for capturing this moment.
First place doesn’t get all the glory.
Asia Ford may have finished Saturday's Rodes City Run in last place, but that wasn’t the important part. What really mattered was that she finished the 10K race at all—thanks to the help of a caring police officer, a complete stranger until that day.
Ford was determined to complete the Louisville, Kentucky, race as part of her goal to lose weight, something she’s struggled with for years, according to the local ABC affiliate WHAS11.
“It’s been a struggle because nothing is easy in life,” Ford told WHAS11. “It’s been a lot of teary-eyed moments, but I know I want it for myself.”
At her heaviest, Ford weighed 474 pounds. But her wake-up call came when her former husband lost a limb from diabetes. She said that every time she went to the doctor, her kids were concerned she’d face a similar fate.
“That is when I woke up and I couldn’t allow them to be on this earth without my help and the only way I would be able to help them is if I helped myself first,” Ford said.
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On race day, she pushed through the first four miles but then she started feeling sick and had trouble breathing. That’s when Lt. Aubrey Gregory pulled up nearby and offered her a ride to the finish line.
But Ford wasn’t ready to give up. So Lt. Gregory hopped out of the car to help her make it there on foot.
“I’m not going to let her quit, so I got out and she immediately grabbed my hand,” Lt. Gregory said.
“He asked me if I wanted to stop and I was like, ‘No,’ we have two more miles to go,” Ford said.
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Ford, Lt. Gregory, and Ford's son walked the rest of the race together. Lt. Gregory shared the story of his mother, whom he lost to diabetes. Soon enough, they made it to the finish line where an enthusiastic crowd had gathered to cheer on Ford.
"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."
"It was really a special moment," Ford said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was so moved by Ford’s resilience and Lt. Gregory’s compassion that he posted photos of the moment on his Facebook page, and planned to recognize them both in a special ceremony today.
And Ford took to her own Facebook page to thank everyone for their incredible support.
It sounds like Ford—along with encouragement from friends, family, police officers, mayors, and the internet—is well on her way to weight-loss success.