Asia Ford's weight-loss journey, in which she has already lost some 200 pounds, led her Saturday to the Rodes City Run, a 10K race in Louisville, Ky. Having gone from weighing 474 pounds at her heaviest, Ford, who had changed her diet and begun working out daily, was ready for the 6-mile trek.
According to Wave 3 News, Ford's breathing became labored around mile 4, and with each step Ford could feel more pain, but her heart wouldn't let her quit. Even though other participants had already crossed the finish line, Ford marched on.
An officer who had been watching Ford's progress went to check on her with an emergency medical service worker.
"The EMS guys got out to check on her and she said, 'I'm not stopping, I'm not stopping,' " Louisville Police Lt. Aubrey Gregory told the news station. "So I said I'm not going to let her stop; we're going to do this together. So I got out and I grabbed her hand. I had to meet this inspirational woman."
And together Gregory, Ford and her son Terrance walked the remaining 2 miles. The officer told her stories about his mother's struggle with diabetes, and somewhere between the officer's kindness and Ford's perseverance, the pain subsided and the three of them crossed the finish line hand in hand.
"Watching her cross the finish line," said Gregory, "I felt it all over. It was a great moment, and I'm glad she let me be a part of it."
Ford told the news station that she undertook her weight-loss journey so that she could be an inspiration to her three children, and according to Terrance, who called his mom a hero shortly after she finished the race, it's working.
"Looking at her and how she used to be, it's inspirational and makes me push harder to do the things I want to do in life," Terrance told the news station. "You know, with all the stuff that's going on with police, it's just nice to know there are nice people out there." The officer told the news station that it's moments like this one that made him want to be an officer.
Ford was overcome with emotion shortly after crossing the finish line. "I just want to thank you. You are my angel," she said to Gregory, according to Wave 3 News. "I could have given up and you didn't allow it. You are my inspiration."
Read more at Wave 3 News.