Cameron was training for a half-marathon in Virginia Beach when the idea of the SpeakUp5k first came to her. She loved the feel of a race environment. The idea that thousands of people can line up at a start line, each with their own story, their own reasons for training and showing up that particular day. Volunteers, fellow participants, friends, and strangers alike encouraging you along the way. No one places judgment, all just want to see you reach your goal. She wanted her race to be inclusive of all. The 5k distance can be run, walked, danced (or all three!) along the way. She designed a course full of fun surprises to make you smile. Her goal was to have everyone cross the finish line with a sense of accomplishment and most importantly, hope. When crossing the finish line, you not only finished your race, you had an experience. You will carry hope and light from that finish line to all the start and finish lines of life.
On March 16, 2014, Cameron Kathleen Gallagher crossed the finish line of her half-marathon. She not only completed her physical race, she completed her race here on earth. About 50 yards after crossing the finish line with a smile, she fell into her parents’ arms where they were proudly cheering for their daughter. She passed away from sudden cardiac arrhythmia. Cameron’s parents and her four siblings knew how important the SpeakUp5k and all it stood for was to her. They vowed to be her voice and carry on her mission to cultivate awareness, understanding, and education for teenage mental health. The Cameron K Gallagher Foundation was born and her dream was launched. Two of the most important messages Cameron wanted to share with the world is that you are not alone and your presence here on earth is wanted, needed, and worth it all.
Cameron fought the good fight, she finished the race, and she kept the faith. She held onto the faith that humankind is good and worthy of the effort towards positive mental health.
“…every life is precious and I will do anything and everything I can to help save people who are contemplating on the meaning of their life.” -Cameron Gallagher
“No matter how we feel, it is the love and support of those we surround ourselves with that gets us through the days.” -Cameron Gallagher