5K Run/Walk to Help USD Students and Promote Suicide Awareness is Sept. 10

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Nikki’s Fund, in partnership with the Lost and Found student organization at the University of South Dakota, will hold the annual Nikki’s 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 10, as part of the National Suicide Prevention Week.

Since its inception in 2006, the event has raised more than $40,000 for USD students, said Janine Harris, who founded Nikki’s Fund in memory of her daughter, Nicole Vallie Harris. She died from suicide on June 15, 2005.

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

The Lost and Found organization at USD promotes mental health awareness while ending the stigma of depression, anxiety and suicide, said president Logan Anderson. “Nikki’s 5K represents this mission and is very important to us,” he said.

The 2016 race/walk starts at 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept. 10, at Prentis Park, which is also the finish line. Participants can register online at AllSportCentral.com by clicking on the event calendar and typing in “Nikki” to find the page. Runners and walkers can also register at the Student Counseling Center, which is located at the Cook House on the USD campus, or complete a form the day of the run at 8 a.m. at Prentis Park. Individual registration is $15 by Sept. 1 and $20 until race day. Team registration (maximum five people) is $50.

Prizes will be 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. Prizes are also awarded to the individuals and teams who reach certain fundraising benchmarks. The top individual fundraiser will win a $25 Walmart gift card. The top team fundraiser will win a $50 gift card to Little Italy’s. Individuals or teams that raise $50 or more will be entered into a drawing to win $25 gift cards to R Pizza, Café Brule, Silk Road or Howlers. People can create a fundraising page through AllSportCentral.com and share the link with family and friends. Refreshments, donated by HyVee and Aramark, will also be provided.

For more information about Nikki’s Fund or to make a donation, please call 605-670-8740 or email.

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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