VERMILLION, S.D. -- The University of South Dakota, along with the communities of Vermillion and Yankton, will sponsor the ninth annual Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Prentis Park in Vermillion. Part of National Suicide Prevention Week activities in September, Nikki’s Fund 5K raises money for USD students in crisis situations and helps promote suicide prevention awareness throughout the region.
“Nikki’s Fund and the Nikki’s Fund 5K are extremely important in assisting USD students who are in need during crisis situations,” stated Teresa McDowell-Johnson, director of Student Rights and Responsibilities at USD. “All the support from this event goes a long ways in supporting students who need our help.”
Registration forms are available now at the Student Counseling Center, which is located at the Cook House on the USD campus and participants can also register online at AllSport Central (www.allsportcentral.com) or complete a form the day of the run at 8 a.m. at Prentis Park. Registration cost is $15. All proceeds will benefit Nikki’s Fund to support suicide prevention programs and other mental health needs for USD students.
“The communities of Vermillion and Yankton have been wonderful partners and supporters of Nikki’s Fund. Since its inception in 2006, we’ve raised more than $35,000 for USD students,” said Janine Harris, founder of Nikki’s Fund, which was created in memory of her daughter, Nicole Vallie Harris, who died from suicide on June 15, 2005. “Suicide is a preventable public health problem and prevention begins with each and every one of us. Our mission is educating others that suicide is not an option, that getting the help they need and deserve is.”
The 2014 race/walk starts at 9 a.m. at Prentis Park (also the finish line) with runners and walkers navigating a street course through downtown Vermillion. Prizes are awarded to 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) 335-1688 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.