Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation 9/12 Virtual Run Offers Chance for Both
By Clair Norman
Cameron Gallagher believed better things. The sixteen-year-old who suffered greatly with anxiety and depression knew that shame did not belong in the mix. Such is the way with stigma. Wise beyond her years, Cameron made it her mission to erase the stigma associated with teen mental health. So, she designed a one of a kind community race event to bring people together to celebrate rather than hide from mental health.
An accomplished competitive swimmer, Cameron discovered running as a coping mechanism. It helped her deal with symptoms of her anxiety and depression. Tragically, she passed away of an undiagnosed heart condition just after she completed the 2014 Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. She had been so inspired by the relief and support she received from her running experience she created the SpeakUp5k, to encourage people toward open, positive conversations about mental health in a happy, fun atmosphere. In its seventh year, the SpeakUp5k is arguably the biggest celebration of teen mental health.
“The SpeakUp5k would become an inspiration to people to become better athletes, husbands, wives, siblings, friends or community members. [Cameron] wanted people to speak up and help others in need. We had no idea that she had been working on this. She had prepared her life for her legacy and she completed her race. It’s fitting that her final moment was the completion of a life goal and a smile.” - David Gallagher, Cameron Gallagher’s father.
To comply with community health concerns, the Dominion Payroll SpeakUp5k presented by Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU is all virtual, all over the country. To register for the September 12 race, click here and SpeakUp for teen mental health because a beautiful girl believed better things.
The Cameron K. Gallagher (CKG) Foundation is teen mental health organization dedicated to erasing stigma and providing education. The mission is to fulfill Cameron’s dream and legacy by being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety. The group seeks to shepherd whispered conversations about teen mental health out of hiding to the light of hope by providing opportunity for open, supportive conversations. Through educational programs and community events like the SpeakUp5k, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation is elevating mental health with physical health.
Cameron Gallagher was a 16-year-old who suffered with anxiety and depression. She designed the annual SpeakUp5k race as her expression of hope and to erase stigma associated with mental health. Cameron lost her life due to an undiagnosed heart condition just after she completed the 2014 Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.