5K Run/Walk to Help USD Students and Promote Suicide Awareness is Sept. 12

The Nikki’s Fund 5K Run/Walk to help University of South Dakota students in crisis situations and also promote suicide prevention awareness throughout the region will be Saturday, Sept. 12, as part of National Suicide Prevention Week.

"Over the years, Nikki’s Fund and the Nikki’s Fund 5K have provided great support to USD students struggling with mental health-related concerns, including suicidal thoughts and intent,” said Debra Brockberg, director of the USD Student Counseling Center. “The funds have provided financial support to students in need of medical assistance, lab work, funding for medication and diagnostic testing for mental health concerns, as well as travel costs to and from appointments.”

The 2015 race/walk starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 12, at Prentis Park, which is 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.

Registration forms are available at the Student Counseling Center, which is located at the Cook House on the USD campus. Participants can also register online at AllSportCentral or complete a form the day of the run at 8 a.m. at Prentis Park. Registration cost is $10 by Sept. 1 and then $15.

“The communities of Vermillion and Yankton have been wonderful partners and supporters of Nikki’s Fund. Since its inception in 2006, we’ve raised almost $40,000 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. “Prevention begins with each and every one of us. Our mission is educating others that suicide is not an option but getting the help they need and deserve is.”

For more information about Nikki’s Fund or to make a donation, please call (605) 670-8740 or email nikkisfund84@gmail.com.

ABOUT USD

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 205 undergraduate and 73 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 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.

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