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.