A medical examiner ruled that a Henrico teenager lost her life because of a heart rhythm problem, as the young runner crossed the finish line of a Virginia Beach half marathon in March.
Cameron Gallagher, 16, died as a result of cardiac arrhythmia, according to the final autopsy report from the Tidewater medical examiner's office. In the year before Gallagher's death, medical tests showed the Freeman High School student exhibited no signs of a heart condition.
"Cameron had a heart test done," said her father David in an interview Monday. "She was an incredible athlete who had no problems before."
With no indication of how the arrhythmia developed, Cameron's parents are seeking a more thorough round of testing, in order to protect the rest of their family.
"We're going to do a series of genetic tests to determine if there are any malfunctions in [Cameron's] chromosomes," David said. "And really, the whole reason that we're doing that is to see if there's anything we have to be aware of for our other children."
The University of Virginia stepped in to help, providing Cameron's four siblings with heart monitors to wear for weeks. All test results conveyed no cause for concern.
As the family waits for results of genetic testing, the Gallaghers are now planning a 5K in Cameron's memory. The race is set for Saturday, Sept. 6, with a course beginning at the Carillon, weaving its way past all three lakes in Byrd Park.
Cameron's mother says growing the event and her daughter's foundation are how her husband and children have survived, pouring their love into Cameron's legacy.
"You would do anything for your child when they're here on Earth," said Grace Gallagher in an interview Monday. "So, why wouldn't you keep doing what she wanted us to do, and needs us to do?"
Funds raised through the Cameron K. Gallagher Memorial Foundation will contribute to the operations of the 5K race, as well as a new hospital for the Virginia Treatment Center for Children.
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