Angus Dentistry's Dr. Rebecca Angus SpeaksUp

Last spring, in order to test myself mentally and physically, I decided to train for and race in triathlons.  Weeks into my training, I sprained my ankle and was treated by Dr. Moose Herring.  Moose is a triathlete and on the Board of the CKG Foundation.  He and the SpeakUp Race Team were getting ready to leave for Germany to race Challenge Roth - an Ironman distance triathlon.  I followed the team on Facebook and was deeply inspired by the heart, determination, and purposefulness of their efforts.  Dr. Herring shared the full SpeakUp story with me, and I really resonated with the work of the organization. It is founded by and supported by people who truly live its mission. 

The CKG Foundation speaks to who I am as a person who cares for other people.  I am a dentist, and this gives me a unique opportunity to care for people in a traditionally anxiety-ridden circumstance.  I am very sensitive to the suffering of other people (I have had my own battles with anxiety and depression), and so I very purposefully practice in a way that honors the individuals who trust me to care for them.  I am aware of the prevalence of anxiety, depression, and mental illness in our society based on what I see in my patient population.  I think most people would be surprised to know how many people around them are taking some sort of medication for depression, anxiety, or other mental illness. 

When I invited Grace Gallagher to my office to speak to my staff about how we could support and volunteer for the SpeakUp5k, she shared Cameron’s story and vision with us.  I was especially moved by Cameron’s determination to take mental illness, anxiety, and depression into the light so others who are suffering don’t feel alone.  This beautiful girl, at such a young age, who was struggling so much, set in motion this greatly needed organization to help other young people like herself.  I am thrilled to support her vision by sponsoring the mindfulness and school programs.  Our teens are at such a vulnerable time in their lives; if they can learn positive strategies for coping with mental illness, it can have a profound effect on the rest of their lives.  

I hope that Cameron’s story will challenge all of us to ask ourselves:  What is your purpose in life?  What positive impact can you make?  How can you recognize and help those around you?  Can you do it every day?

Katherine Cook