Why a 5k? by Grace Gallagher, Executive Director

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Many people ask me why Cameron wanted to put on a 5k to raise awareness for teenage depression and anxiety. Let me take you back to when Cameron was running her half marathon and she was coming up on mile 4. She was all smiles, put her arms up as she ran past David and me, and said, “Mom! Dad! Everyone is so nice!” She wanted to put on an event where you could feel encouragement and support along the course. When you line up at the start line of any race, everyone there wants to see you reach your goal. Whether it is your fellow participants, a volunteer handing out water, or just a stranger cheering you on while ringing a cow bell. No one is judging you, everyone is supporting you. Why a 5k? A 5k is doable. You can walk, run, skip, cartwheel, and dance your way across the finish line.

Everyday we all wake up and line up at that start line for the race called life. There are days that lacing up our shoes seems entirely too daunting. How powerful it can be to know that someone out there cares, someone out there wants to see you lace up your shoes and put one foot in front of the other. Someone out there will walk along side of you, because they care and hold hope for you to reach your goal of just putting one foot in front of the other. The goal of knowing that with every struggle, there is also joy waiting and available to each and every one of us. The goal of knowing every single person on this earth is valued and worth it. The goal that we can reach inside ourselves, and draw on those skills to navigate us through uncertainty or pain. The goal to remember to practice self-compassion,  and when you fill your own bucket up with that compassion, it can’t help but to overflow onto others.

Thank you, Cameron, for teaching us all that we can walk along side each other, and we can change the world if we SpeakUp and start a conversation, listen to a conversation, and empower ourselves with knowledge. Never let the waters of compassion dry up. Let the waters of compassion continue to overflow - the ripple effect is powerful.

Katherine Cook