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USD, Nikki's Fund announce Seventh Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk to take place Saturday, Sept. 15

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Nikki’s Fund and the University of South Dakota along with the community of Vermillion will sponsor the seventh annual Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 15 at Prentis Park. As part of National Suicide Prevention Week activities Sept. 9-15 at USD, the 5K run/walk raises money for USD students in crisis situations and helps promote suicide prevention awareness throughout the campus community.

“It’s more important now, more than ever, to do something for the students at USD who fight depression,” said Janine Harris, manager of the Al Neuharth Media Center, who created Nikki’s Fund in memory of her daughter, Nicole Vallie Harris, who died from suicide on June 15, 2005. “The main goal, in starting this event, was to make a bigger awareness of suicide. When you lose a loved one to suicide, it’s OK to talk about it. People need to know that their grief is the same as anyone else’s and they need to be comforted just as much. We started this event to let people know that help is out there.”

Registration forms for the Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk for Suicide Awareness are available at the front desk of the Al Neuharth Media Center on the USD campus; at the USD Student Counseling Center, which is located in Julian Hall 336; on-line at; or participants can complete a registration form the day of the run at 8 a.m. at Prentis Park. Participants can save by pre-registering for $10 before Sept. 13 while cost is $15 after that date, including the day of the race. All proceeds from the event, including the registration fee and all donations, will go toward Nikki’s Fund to support suicide prevention programs and other mental health needs for USD students.

The 2012 race/walk is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. at Prentis Park (also the finish site) and takes participants on a scenic route through Vermillion. Prizes from the 5K will be awarded to the first place finishers in the male and female categories of 15 and under, 16 to 25 years old, 26 to 54 years old, and 55 and over. T-shirts and refreshments will also be provided. For more information about Nikki’s Fund or to make a donation, please call (605) 677-5424.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 202 undergraduate and 78 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 16:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 18 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

This material is available in an alternate format upon request. Please contact University Relations at 605-677-5759. If you are a person with a disability and need a special accommodation to fully participate in any university activity or event, please contact Disability Services at 605-677-6389 as soon as possible, but no later than 48 hours before the event, so that appropriate arrangements may be made.


Hanna DeLange
USD News