VIRGINIA BEACH, VA (WWBT) - It was a cold and windy start to the Shamrock Half Marathon on Sunday morning, but Dave Gallagher and his wife Grace were undeterred. The Henrico couple wanted to finish the race in honor of their daughter, Cameron.
"We really tried to feel the presence of Cameron out there and reflect of all that she has accomplished in the last two years," Dave Gallagher said.
Two years ago, Cameron ran the very same course her parents took on, but when the 16-year-old got to the finish line, she collapsed. Cameron suffered from an undiagnosed heart condition. She later died at the hospital.
The Gallaghers say their daughter's final moments were on their mind as they reached the final miles of the race.
"We think about what Cameron must have been feeling like when she ran this race. 'Was this the moment she was starting to not feel good?'" Gallagher said. "The finish line is a very, very sacred ground for us because it's where Cameron fell."
After her death, Cameron's dream came to life. Her parents say the teen battled depression and anxiety. She wanted to start a race of he own called the SpeakUp 5K to raise awareness about teen mental health.
The first SpeakUp 5K was held in Richmond's Byrd Park in 2014, and on Sunday, 150 SpeakUp team members ran the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach.
"Cameron wanted the cause to be about SpeakUp ... to speak up for teenage depression. She didn't want people supporting just her. She wanted them to support her cause," said Gallagher.
To further Cameron's cause, the Gallaghers have started working with schools to teach kids about depression, and how to treat people with the symptoms. Gallagher says his daughter would be proud but that there are many more miles ahead.
"She would smile at us and say thank you, but she would say go do more dad, get up and go," Gallagher said.
The third annual SpeakUp 5K will be held in Richmond at Byrd Park on Sept. 10.
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