Our 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.
Cameron Gallagher was a bright and talented teenager. Although ever-smiling, she faced her own personal battles with depression and anxiety. She began to grow weary of keeping her struggles a private battle, and knew that there were many teens just like her who were in great pain behind closed doors. Her dream was to create a 5k race in her community to raise awareness of teenage depression. She began making plans for the race, and titled the race the SpeakUp5k in order to draw attention to the issue of teen depression. She wanted to let other teens like herself know that it was okay to “SpeakUp” about their personal battles.
During this time, Cameron also set a personal goal for herself and began training for the Shamrock Half Marathon. On March 16, 2014, sixteen-year-old Cameron completed her goal of finishing the race, and passed away suddenly from an undiagnosed heart condition after crossing the finish line.
As her family discovered more and more of Cameron’s plans for the 5k, her family fulfilled her dream by holding the first race in her honor. Over 10,000 people participated in the May 2014 launch party, and 3,500 participated in the inaugural 5k race in Richmond in September 2014. Since then, the SpeakUp5k race series has expanded, and Cameron’s message has spread across the nation.
To fulfill our mission, it is critical to help shift the current mindset of our society and reduce the negative stigma associated with mental illness. Therefore, teen programming is of utmost importance as we not only cultivate understanding, but also empower teens who are struggling to “SpeakUp” about their battles. We are partnering with local schools and mental health professionals to implement prevention-based programs and curriculum to provide education and initiate conversation amongst teens regarding depression and anxiety.