“You Are Worth it All” 9th Annual SpeakUp 5k

Olivia TrompetaBlog0 Comments

“You are worth it all” is one of Cameron Gallagher’s quotes that resonated with me from when I ran my first SpeakUp5k last year. September 10th is coming quickly as we approach the 9th annual SpeakUp5k, hosted by the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation, at Byrd Park in Richmond, Virginia, and virtually all around the world.

The SpeakUp5k started with Cameron Gallagher, who had her own personal battles with depression and anxiety. She made plans to create a race to bring awareness to teen depression. “She wanted to let other teens like herself know it was okay to ‘SpeakUp’ about their personal battles,” said Grace Gallagher, executive director of the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. While running the Shamrock Half-Marathon, Cameron Gallagher passed away due to an unknown heart condition. 

Clair Norman, Cameron’s aunt and Director of Marketing and Donor Relations at CKG Foundation states it well. “Cameron dreamed of a world without mental health stigma. From experience, she knew the extreme difficulty of facing mental health challenges. Her heart was filled with purpose to raise awareness and encourage open, supportive conversations. Cameron found encouragement through running and relief from her symptoms of anxiety and depression.  She was all heart and purpose and knew a 5k distance was accessible to everyone. This race is the biggest celebration of teen mental health.”

I joined the Dominion Payroll team in 2021 and participated in my first SpeakUp5k. It is a magical event from running, volunteering, assembling quote alley, seeing the numerous teams, or enjoying a popsicle afterward from King of Pops. There are thousands of people meeting at the start line, where Grace Gallagher reminds us “We line up together without judgment, only support… Let’s walk side by side supporting each other, knowing you are not alone during the challenges on this race course called life.” 

As you run through Byrd Park, you are experiencing the warm welcome and support of volunteers, the Richmond community, and CKG partners like Dominion Payroll, where there are bubbles, silly string, your cheer squad, and finishing the race with a slip n’ slide. I remember finishing the race with my CEO, David Gallagher, waving and congratulating everyone at the finish line. As I sprinted towards the end towards Dave, he went, “congratulations, bud! You did it, and I am proud of you!” That is a core memory of mine from this event. 

“We celebrate the whole person from a place of joy and support. If you have a brain, you have mental health. There is an angel and her whole team hold hope for those who suffer” states Clair Norman.

Participating in SpeakUp5K is open to all ages and everyone is highly encouraged to come out to this wondrous event. “SpeakUp is THE event of the year. I often refer to September as Speak-tember,” says Culture Specialist at Dominion Payroll, Susan Nixon. Whether you are volunteering, running, walking, or cheering, it is the time when the community comes together to spread awareness of teen mental health. Click here to register for SpeakUp5K on September 10th, virtual or in-person. 

How does CKG support teens’ mental health? According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 1 out of 3 teenagers experience an anxiety disorder. The Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation free mental health programs to teenagers throughout the community of all socioeconomic and cultural backgrounds. Learn more about Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation here.

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