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Teens talk mental health at SpeakUp5k: 'I don’t want to lose friends'

SpeakUp5k 'is such a positive and uplifting day,' teen says
SpeakUp5k 2023
Posted at 5:48 PM, Sep 09, 2023

RICHMOND, Va. -- Thousands of people in bright coral shirts filled Byrd Park in Richmond Saturday morning for the 10th annual SpeakUp5k hosted by the Cameron Gallagher Foundation.

Speak Up 5K Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation

Local News

Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation celebrates 10 years of the Speak Up 5K

Tracy Sears
7:13 PM, Aug 31, 2023

Grace Gallagher led the event, which focuses on creating greater conversations around mental health, in honor of
her teen daughter, Cameron.

Gallagher said Cameron came up with the idea in one of her journals as she was working through her own mental health challenges.

However, Cameron unexpectedly passed away in 2014 from health complications after running a half marathon, according to her family.

“She wanted to speak up about her story, but she wanted to speak up for everyone,” Gallagher shared.

Gallagher also talked about the importance of teens checking in on one another and having conversations around anxiety and depression. She then had everyone take a deep breath to recenter themselves before kicking off the run/walk.

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Teens like high schoolers Olivia Minton and Michael Sabo, who took part in the event, said social media contributes to many of their peers' struggles with mental health.

The group of teens acknowledged how it can be difficult to know what people are going through if they don’t talk about it.

“I do have friends that are going through it. And I do want to talk to them about it, because I don’t want to lose friends,” said Sabo.

Minton called the event a safe space that can be a reminder for people to know they are not alone.

"There are people here that you can talk to," Minton said. "Everybody just forgets everything and today is just such a positive and uplifting day."

SpeakUp5k 2023

The race included cheering sections, bubble tunnels, and motivational quote alley. There was also an opportunity for teens to share their own story after the event.

Sabo said events like the SpeakUp5k "feel really good" because it shines a light "so hopefully we are not losing as many people."

Cameron Gallagher
Cameron Gallagher

Organizers hope the SpeakUp5k makes attendees realize there is always hope, and that there is a community ready to help folks conquer whatever they are going through.

Click hereto learn more about the work of the Cameron Gallagher Foundation.

WTVR CBS 6 anchors Bill Fitzgerald and Tracy Sears once again took part in the event, of which WTVR CBS 6 is a proud sponsor.

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