"It's so beautiful and I think it's a great honor for such a great little girl who touched so many lives," said family friend Michelle Vincent. The community celebrated Emma's life with a tribute fit for a princess.
"She was our princess," said family friend Kelly Peay.
Hundreds lined the streets of Central City and Greenville, paying tribute to the little girl who captured the hearts of people all over the country. Vincent and Peay were by the Ford's sides every step of Emma's journey, and say this was the perfect way to end this chapter of Emma's life.
"We've got a ton of phone calls, text messages, inbox, Facebook messages," said Vincent. "In just a matter of a couple of days, this baby went from having 1,700 on her prayer page to over 16,000. Now that's some lives touched for little Emma." The love of Emma and her family was apparent. As the hearse took her from Tucker's Funeral Home to her final resting place, people held signs of encouragement and hope and released balloons in her honor.
"It makes you thankful that you are from a small town, because the community comes together for families in need," Peay said.
Even though Emma's family will never see her face light up a room again; even though they'll never have another chance to watch her dance to her favorite song; they say she'll always be with them.
"I never thought I would say a four-year-old is my hero, but she is," said Peay. And even though this may be the final chapter of Emma's life, Vincent says her story is just getting started.
"She's in Heaven with Jesus, and we're going to help find that cure, for her," she said.
On this day, Emma Ford is a reminder. For her community, she's a reminder of a little girl who refused to give up. For her friends and loved ones, a reminder that there's still a lot left to do. And for her family, a reminder of a life taken too soon.
"She'll always be in our hearts," said Peay. "She's dancing around the throne; most definitely."
An account for donations for Emma's funeral has been set up at First Kentucky Bank. Money can be mailed to:
First Kentucky Bank
Emma Joy Ford Special Account
P.O. Box 547
Greenville, KY 42345
Emma's Facebook Prayer Page continues growing by the day. To visit and join, click here.