Saturday, May 31, 2014

Let’s Finish This

Sometimes there is a story that can be life changing. Today, I offer you this post as a source of inspiration and as a reminder to appreciate the moment, to always “see” your children, to take risks and to finish what you have started, despite all odds.

You are aware of  the story of Cameron Gallagher, the sixteen year old who died moments after finishing the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach in March. She was the niece of my dear friend, Clair.

In the picture below, Cameron is at mile six of the race. It is unfathomable what would occur seven miles later as her parents watched her finish the race and gently caught her as she fell to the ground.


What you may not know is that before Cameron died, she struggled with depression, so much so that she missed school sometimes. Despite her struggles, she worked hard to lift her own spirits by journaling and finding inspirational quotes form songs, books and magazines. She got the idea to organize a 5K named Speak Up to help others struggling with childhood depression and to raise awareness.

After Cameron’s death, her parents, David and Grace, found stacks of papers in Cameron’s bedroom indicating that, unbeknownst to them, Cameron had been working on the 5K. She had reached out to sponsors and had done much of the legwork to put this race into place. Cameron’s parents decided that Cameron’s vision needed to still be fulfilled.

Today,  just two and a half months after Cameron’s tragic death, there is a launch party in Richmond for the Speak Up 5K, which will occur in September. One motto of the race is, “Let us finish what Cameron started.”

Race organizes from the Shamrock Half Marathon where Cameron died, have assembled the actual finish line where she collapsed for the launch party of the race. Those inspirational quotes that Cameron used as a life line are displayed on large screens in Cameron’s own handwriting. I just wish I could be there.


Since Cameron’s death, my friend Clair has told me that she believes Cameron was a sacrifice for a greater cause. She knows that Cameron has something to say and more to do. While she is not here in the flesh to make this happen, her actions before she died and her remaining determined spirit are ensuring that her work will still be done.

A statement from Cameron’s parents has made me look at my own children differently:

“We knew our Cameron the way other parents know their children. We know them as beautiful but flawed, caring but sometimes selfish and often aloof. We rarely get to see our children the way other people see them. We are so busy raising and educating them that we rarely get to see the positive effect they have on other people.”

In her death, what continues to be Cameron’s life commitment? (from the Speak Up 5K site):

 Fight the good fight, Finish the race, and Keep the faith. And do it with a smile, every day. 

Cameron woke up every day and had to fight to finish her race, and she needed faith to begin her fight. Learn from Cameron. Use her story to take your life’s burden and fight the good fight. Use her will-power and commitment to finish what you’ve started.

And most importantly, use her vision to have faith in your future. Have hope, be kind, and smile.


If you would like to sign up for the Speak Up 5K (either to run it in Richmond or to run it virtually), go HERE.


  1. Wow. Just wow. This is incredible. Thank you for sharing. I can't imagine what your friend and her family are going through, but I hope this helped in some way with the healing. xo

  2. What a beautiful way for her parents to celebrate her life. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. What a lasting legacy! Thank you for sharing this information!

  4. Hi. I couldn´t fill the form for the Virtual 5K because I live in Europe and my personal information is "not valid". But I did it anyway. 5K for Cameron and for myself.
    I´ve been having a few tough days lately and this post helped me. Thank you and thanks to Cameron.

  5. That's amazing! What a wonderful girl. It's so nice to know that something positive can come from such a horrific tragedy.

  6. This is awesome! What a legacy, what a thought (seeing your kiddos as others see them). Thanks for posting.

  7. Thank you for posting this. Thank YOU CAMERON for your sacrifice and your vision...

  8. This is an amazing way to honor Cameron. I have so much respect for her and my heart goes out to her parents.

  9. Wow...what a silver lining to such a tragic story. As someone that uses running as a tool to fight anxiety and depression, I am so thankful for what this young girl has accomplished - even after her life ended too soon. I'll definitely be running the virtual, getting a psychical done soon, and sharing her story. Thank you so much for sharing.

  10. I deal with deep recurrent depression with severe anxiety. She's so beautiful and this is so uplifting to me today!

  11. Thanks for sharing. I like so many others use running as a tool to help with depression, anxiety and to silence the "bully in my head". Learning to love yourself is a journey!

  12. My 18 year old daughter deals with depression and I will be running the virtual 5k in memory of Cameron and in honor of my daughter and other teens who deal with depression.

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  15. My boy and I started running at the Byrd Park with the stroller in Richmond, VA, 8 years ago. We would love to run for Cameron's cause virtually from here. We will Speak Up from the Bay Area, California, where we are with friends...

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