Erik Bendl has devised an unusual method for raising diabetes awareness: he pushes around a large globe, six foot in diameter. He calls himself World Guy.

Erik walks and walks. Every night he stops in a new town. Along with his dog, Nice, he’s pushed that globe all over the states. And he has no intention of stopping any time soon.

Why does Erik Bendl push a giant globe?

Good question. Erik originally made the ball for his son to play with. The two of them would push it around the park. Intrigued, people would ask him: what’s the story with the big globe? Why are you pushing it around? What’s the message?

“Diabetes pretty much rolled off my tongue instantly,” says Erik.

There’s a tragic side to Erik’s quirky adventures. His mother died from her diabetes in 1987. She isn’t the only member of his family affected by diabetes, either:

“I have an uncle who has been diabetic, like my mom, since his 40s. So eight years ago, I walked to celebrate his 80th birthday to Pittsburgh from Louisville, using him and my mother as an example. She passed at 54. He at the time was 80. He’s now 88, still kicking.”

erik bendl dog

Erik’s epic stroll has so far covered over 6,000 miles. He’s raised more than $5,000 dollars for the American Diabetes Association in the process. Helen Overfield, director of the ADA’s office in Louisville, says:

“He is passionate about discussing diabetes with people as he travels. He is a free spirit, and rather unconventional, that for many may raise an eyebrow – but he has a heart of gold.”

And so Erik Bendl walks on, spreading his message of the importance of exercise everywhere he goes. You can read more about his fascinating, often peculiar adventures on his blog.