“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 www.allsportcentral.com; 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.

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