Cameron Gallagher, Henrico teen, dies after Shamrock Half-Marathon

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) -  Just as she crossed the finish line at the Shamrock Half Marathon in Virginia Beach Sunday morning, 16-year-old Cameron Gallagher collapsed. Her parents rushed over to help and that was when their daughter’s heart stopped beating.

“A team of doctors tried everything they could to try and get her heart going back again. Her heart had stopped and they just could not get it going back again,” Cameron 's father David Gallagher said.

Cameron , a sophomore at Douglas Freeman High School, was very athletic, according to her father. She won awards as a competitive swimmer, and then decided to take on running to give herself a new challenge.

“Her entire mission was to enjoy the race and accomplish something and spread that cheer on to other people,” Gallagher said.

Cameron trained for weeks, according to her father, and seemed to be in good spirits throughout the marathon.

Gallagher said he and his wife were cheering for Cameron along the route. At mile three, Gallagher said she was still excited as she ran alongside her good friend.

When they saw her running at the 10 mile mark, Gallagher said Cameron was noticeably tired.

The next time he would see his daughter alive was moments before she collapsed, after crossing the finish line.

“It was her time to go. Her last act of life was an accomplishment,” Gallagher said.

Cameron’s cause of death has not yet been released, but Gallagher said he believed it was cardiac arrest.

Her family is still working on funeral arrangements.


  • Rosa Johnson

    such a shame that no one knows their child even has any heart problem until they collapse like this. it has happened to athletes during practice, football, basket ball, track. just wish there was a test that would detect this illness before this happens. I applaud the father for his positive attitude even as his own heart is breaking. condolences to her family.

    • Groshe

      There is in fact a screening test for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (the most common cause of sudden cardiac death in athletes which I believe you may be referring to). It’s an echocardiogram, and can diagnose more than 80% of patients with this disease. Athletes in some countries (for example Italy) are routinely screened for this before being allowed to compete, and screening has been shown to be effective. One person out of every 500 has this condition so it’s not very rare.

      • Cody Wingler

        The study you are referring to is in a small subset of population in which hypertrophic cardiomyopathy has a much higher occurrence. We screen with physcial exam here in the US and if a doctor is concerned then they can follow-up with EKG/ECHO etc…It would cost millions to screen every athlete in the US for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Its unfortunate that she passed away and my condolences go out to the family

      • Jacob Morey

        It does not need to be obstructed to be deadly. Regular HCM can still cause arrhythmia’s . And that is the deadly part.
        I Have HCM with obstruction my self.

  • Reasonable Man

    oh this just breaks my heart……I feel so sorry for the parents……that is incredibly hard to endure….looks like she was the oldest child in the family… thoughts and well wishes are with the family…..such a terrible loss for them…….ugh, wouldn’t wish this on anyone!

  • David Getway

    Sorry for your loss You and your family are in our prayers May God bless you and comfort you in this very sad time .Just remember she will always be in your heart

  • C. M. Whitney

    A very sad end for a lovely young lady. My husband who is a marathon runner feels that a run this long is too much for a teenager, however if she had an underlying heart condition it would have shown itself sooner or later. I remember Cameron as a third grader when I volunteered in her lunchroom at St Bridget’s. She was such a sweetie and will surely be missed by many.

  • Evelyn

    My thoughts are with the family. I know Cameron is running with the Angels now, hope they can keep up!

  • Lulu Neimeyer

    So sorry for your loss. May God embrace you in comfort during this time and always. Prayers are lifted for you and your family.

  • Cole

    She went to school with me. I didn’t know her well but the best to her resting soul and her beloved family.

  • Jeanne Bauer

    This is so sad. Sounds like she was a wonderful young woman. Thoughts and comfort to her family.

  • DSWB

    So sorry your loss. What an accomplished girl and beautiful person at 16. Glad for her that she was able to cross the finish line. Hugs.

  • Nancy

    My condolences and love to her parents and family. May God continue to watch over you and keep you in his arms. Your daughter is my hero. Hugs to all!

  • Chuck McCabe

    Cameron was obviously a wonderful young lady who will be missed by many. I am very sad for her and for her loved ones who have suffered this loss. Hopefully she is in a better place.

  • Genie Donahue

    My dear Gallagher family,
    Please know that I just hold you up in my prayers, and that my heart truly breaks for all of you. You have a special angel to guard and guide you now. My prayers and love to all of you.
    Genie Donahue

  • Della

    I am praying Phillipians 4:7 for the peace that passes all understanding… that God gave our family when our 16 year old died suddenly.

  • azure28

    My condolences to the Gallagher family for the loss of Cameron.

    It was mentioned by her parents in another article that their daughter had a history of kidney problems that required hospitalization on several occasions.

    She may have been a good swimmer, but running is a different animal and requires different physical exertions. She may not have been physically suited to take on a long distance event and her body consequently shut down on her. It sounds as if she were in some substantial discomfort at mile 12.

    In any event it is a tragedy and my sympathies are with her family.

  • Joseph

    I am sad this happened, it doesn’t seem to me like it was her time to die. I am surprised, did they not have an AED at the first aid station?

  • Rochelle

    So sad! I hope the family finds peace and maybe answers. This sudden heart failure is very suspicious of LQTS to me. Symptoms (such as fainting and cardiac arrest) start manifesting in the teens and is often not diagnosed until its too late. Its genetic and is triggered by physical and emotional stress. Family history and genetic testing are really the only way to tell. Either way, its a very sad loss and my heart is with this family.

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