The light of resilience burns brightest in the dark. Born in the wake of tragedy, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation serves as a beacon for those battling teenage depression and anxiety, generating awareness for a subject that is often overlooked.
“The Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation was founded by its namesake, a 16-year-old girl who ran the 2014 Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach,” explains Clair Norman, director of vision and strategy for the CKG Foundation. “Cameron lost her life due to an undiagnosed heart condition in her parents' arms just after she crossed the finish line. That day, March 16, 2014, the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation was born.”
Clair, Cameron’s aunt, works closely with her sister, Grace Gallagher, executive director of the foundation, and a team of eleven. Cameron’s family and the CKG Foundation honor her memory and legacy by carrying out her vision of hope for those who suffer in silence.
“Cameron struggled with anxiety and depression and knew the world should do a better job of speaking up about mental health issues,” continues Clair. “Since she found relief and acceptance through running, she designed the SpeakUp5k race, with a vision to bring communities together to celebrate the whole person and raise awareness, while providing education around the critical issue of mental health. Besides the SpeakUp5k race series, now in five states and growing, the CKG Foundation brings programs to schools and community events to advance Cameron's dream.”
Now, the CKG Foundation is able to benefit adolescents and their influencers at school, at community events and at work.
“We work hard to raise funds to deliver impactful experiences which elevate mental health with physical health, to erase stigma around those conversations and to hold hope for those who suffer."
“Cameron received hope, love and care from the Virginia Treatment Center for Children; therefore, CKG Foundation also commits resources to their amazing work," Clair says.
The foundation aspires to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety by acting as a positive force in the community.
“The CKG foundation is unique in that it is a mainstream organization that takes conversations and support around mental health and wellness out of silos and into the community with a broad reach.”
“We seek to inspire supportive and productive conversations around mental health and wellness which lead to self-awareness, self-acceptance and hope for help," Clair concludes. "Ultimately, we wish to positively impact the anxiety crisis of our adolescents.”
Since inception, the CKG Foundation has impacted countless lives through its outreach, with an array of stories about affecting the mental health and wellness of adolescents and families. Every day, they are fulfilling their promise to a young girl who wished to be a ray of light in times of darkness.
Register for the Sixth Annual SpeakUp5k Richmond in Byrd Park at CKGFoundation.org/Richmond.