On March 16, 2014 at the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach, sixteen-year-old Cameron K. Gallagher, niece of Jonathan Gallagher, passed away as she crossed the finish line. On that day Cameron struggled to finish a race that she had set as a personal goal for herself—and was victorious. But that was not the only hard fight that Cameron wrestled with. Cameron Gallagher combated severe depression and anxiety for several years. The ever-smiling teen was growing tired of keeping her struggle a private battle. She knew that like her, many teens were in great pain behind closed doors. As she trained for the half marathon, she took it upon herself to address the misplaced stigma held by so many about teenage depression. Her dream was to create a 5k race in her community to help raise awareness of teenage depression. She had titled that race the SpeakUp5k in order to draw attention to the issue of teen depression and to let other teens like herself know that it was okay to speak up about their personal battles.
Upon finding Cameron’s original plans for the race, her parents 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 September 2014.
Community members reached out to the foundation for months following both events with notes of gratitude and stories of their own struggles and the impact Cameron’s story had on them. Cameron’s legacy was born.
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.
The SpeakUp5k race series serves as a primary vehicle to drive the SpeakUp message into the community in a powerful, positive, familial and active way. The purpose of the race is for people and families to come together and “Speak Up” for positive causes, for those that are suffering, for those that are battling depression and anxiety and to challenge people to visibly and vocally support one another.
The SpeakUp5k will be expanding to communities in the United States while maintaining its status in Richmond, Virginia as the home of the original SpeakUp5K.
Coastal Payroll Services is thrilled to bring the SpeakUp5k to San Diego on May 2nd, 2015 at Embarcadero Marina Park. We invite our family, friends, and the entire community of San Diego to join us in fighting the good fight.