HENRICO, Va. (WRIC) — Colorful artwork hangs on the walls at the headquarters for the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation. While the vibrant reds and yellows catch your attention, it is the words included that leave a lasting impression. They are all part of Cameron Gallagher’s legacy.
“It is Cameron,” Cameron’s mother, Grace Gallagher explained. “And when you really see that she wrote these, she had, her hand was touching this, her life was in these quotes, her life is still out there offering hope to people.”
Cameron died from an undiagnosed heart condition in 2014 as she finished a half marathon. The 16-year-old, who battled depression, filled notebooks and journals with quotes that offered her comfort. Those same quotes and doodles now make up a retail line in her name, “Speak Up By Cameron.”
On one tank top, the words “a smooth sea never made a skilled sailor” are printed in her handwriting. “I will hold on,” exactly as it was scrolled in Cameron’s journal, is etched on a sterling silver plate necklace.
“I am so proud to be her mother, and I’m so proud to watch the way she is really changing people’s lives,” Grace said. “And she will continue to change people’s lives.”
Proceeds from ‘Speak Up By Cameron’ benefit programs fighting mental health stigmas that Cameron’s loved ones have worked tirelessly to launch.
“Everything you buy, you know you’re impacting a teen,” Grace said. “The one person that comes to me and says how this made a difference, they’re going to make a difference in somebody else’s life though it will just continue on.”
An estimated one in five children has a mental illness, and many of them suffer in silence. It is why Cameron’s friends and family members are hopeful each piece of clothing, jewelry and art will initiate conversations about depression, anxiety and other struggles to create the more accepting, loving community that Cameron envisioned.
Information about ‘Speak Up By Cameron’ will also be available at the third annual Richmond SpeakUp 5K on Saturday, September 10 at Byrd Park. The race begins at 9 a.m.