Nikki's Fund 5K/Walk This Saturday.


Did you know that for young people ages 15-24, suicide is the third leading cause of death?

Did you know that every year, suicide claims the lives of nearly 30,000 Americans?

Did you know that depression, stressful situations, impulsive/aggressive decisions and self–destruction are a few of the leading causes as to why young adults commit suicide?

Just knowing what to look for and to care enough to act, you can help prevent a real tragedy.

Janine Harris started Nikki’s Fund in memory of her daughter Nicole Vallie Harris, who passed away on June 15, 2005 from suicide.

“With suicide claiming the lives of 30,000 people each year, it’s important that we support suicide prevention programs and other mental health needs for students at USD, (University of South Dakota),” said Janine Harris, manager of the Al Neuharth Media Center at USD.

This year National Suicide Prevention Week is September 5-11. Along with a variety of campus activities that are scheduled to increase suicide awareness, Nikki’s Fund is presenting “Kristin’s Story!” 

“Kristin’s Story,” an acquaintance rape and depression presentation, is told by her mother Andrea Cooper, who lost her 20-year-old daughter in 1995 to suicide. In 1998, with the help of the Delta Delta Delta Foundation, Cooper created “Kristin’s Story” and has been traveling the country educating Greek communities. Since she started, Cooper has visited over 325 campuses and held 26 conferences telling her story to more than 100,000 students, faculty and administrators.

“I am sharing this because I hope by telling Kristin's story that other lives will be saved, and other young women will not be victims of acquaintance rape, and that those suffering from depression, for any reason, will get help,” Cooper explained.

University of South Dakota students, and the public will get the opportunity to hear “Kristin’s Story” on Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. in the Muenster University Center Ballroom on the USD Campus.  For more on “Kristin’s Story” you can visit

In addition to the campus activities, Nikki’s Fund is sponsoring the fourth annual 5K/walk on Saturday September 11 at 9 a.m. at Prentis Park in Vermillion, S.D.  Pre-registration by Sept. 8 is $10 (you can register here) and all proceeds from the walk/run will be donated to Nikki’s Fund. T-shirts and refreshments will be provided.

For more info on Nikki's Fund or to make a donation, call (605) 677-5424.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from depression and/or suicide, you can reach help at the 211 Help!Line Center or the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK. 

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