The Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation is thrilled to expand the SpeakUp5k race series to the Washington D.C. area. The race will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019, at Clarksburg Premium Outlets in Clarksburg, Maryland, just north of D.C. We are excited to offer Cameron’s race to residents in Northern VA, Maryland, and D.C.
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.
To fulfill our mission, it is critical to help shift the current mindset of our society and reduce the negative stigma associated with mental illness. Therefore, teen programming is of utmost importance as we not only cultivate understanding, but also empower teens who are struggling to “SpeakUp” about their battles. We are partnering with local schools and mental health professionals to implement prevention-based programs and curriculum to provide education and initiate conversation amongst teens regarding depression and anxiety.
The Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation is a beacon of hope for those who are affected by teenage mental illness. From free mental health programs for teens, to peer support curriculum in local schools, to nationwide 5k races that raise awareness for teenage depression and anxiety, CKG Foundation helps those who are fighting the good fight to SpeakUp and get help.
Cameron taught us the power of community when she designed the SpeakUp5k. She taught us that depression and anxiety are nothing to be ashamed of and that we need to help each other because we are all fighting our own battles and we all have something to give back. We are a positive force because of Cameron but we are stronger with your help.
Cameron designed this race to be bright, fun, silly and honest. Whether you run, walk, or meander along the course with your kids, this day is sure to be exciting! No judgements, no stigma, just fun!
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 those who are suffering, for those who are battling depression and anxiety, and to challenge people to visibly and vocally support one another. As Cameron said, "Let's Finish This!"
To register and find more information about SpeakUp, visit http://www.ckgfoundation.org/speakupdc/ !
22705 Clarksburg Road
Clarksburg, MD 20871
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