Cameron K. Gallagher, the 16-year-old Henrico County girl who collapsed at the finish line of a half-marathon in 2014, used to dream of growing up to help teenagers struggling with mental health problems because she’d dealt with her own bouts of depression and anxiety.
On Wednesday, thanks to a $250,000 donation from the foundation Gallagher’s parents started in her memory, the Virginia Treatment Center for Children renamed its resource center for children’s mental health in her honor.
Christened the Cameron K. Gallagher Mental Health Resource Center in a ceremony Wednesday evening, the center aims to help families understand the options available for children and help them find the services they need.
The center, which is the child and adolescent division of the VCU Department of Psychiatry and the pediatric psychiatric service of Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, receives an average of six new referrals a day for information about mental health care.
“We are immensely grateful for the foundation’s generous contribution to the Mental Health Resource Center and we pledge to use the funds to expand the program and serve more families throughout Virginia in support of Cameron’s dream,” Alexandria Lewis, executive director of the Virginia Treatment Center for Children, said in a statement.
“As young people continue to struggle with emotional and mental health challenges that often go untreated and ignored, we must support speaking out about teen depression. The Gallagher family has done just that through the Cameron K. Gallagher Foundation.”
The foundation’s work also includes organizing SpeakUp 5K runs in memory of Gallagher in half a dozen cities across the U.S., sponsoring mental health awareness programs in Virginia schools, and offering free mindfulness classes for teenagers.
The foundation’s mission, according to its website, is to “fulfill Cameron’s dream and legacy by being a positive force that works to cultivate awareness and understanding of teenage depression and anxiety.”