Erik Bendl, a.k.a. “World Guy,” pushes a giant globe up South 11th Street with his dog, “Nice.” Bendl has walked more than 6,000 miles to promote awareness of diabetes. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)
Erik Bendl, a.k.a. “World Guy,” pushes a giant globe up South 11th Street with his dog, “Nice.” Bendl has walked more than 6,000 miles to promote awareness of diabetes. (Leader photo/CRAIG HAUPERT)

Archived Story

‘World Guy’ walks from Kentucky to Niles for diabetes awareness

Published 9:09am Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Some people honked, while others waved.

A few even stopped to take a picture and talk with the man pushing a giant globe north along South 11th Street in Niles Monday morning.

Erik Bendl is his name, but the 52-year-old Kentuckian also calls himself the “World Guy.”

As he walked by a discount store, Bendl’s traveling companion — a large brown dog named “Nice” — waded up to his head in a murky puddle.

Bendl shrugged his shoulders and smiled under his brown cowboy hat.

Who could blame Nice for wanting to take a dip? It was 84 degrees, sunny and the two had been walking since the middle of June from Louisville, Kentucky.

Bendl said they are averaging about 10 miles a day.

“It varies,” Bendl said.

He began his walks in 2007 as a way to promote diabetes awareness after his mother died at age 54 from complications from the disease.

Since then, he said he has gone on 12 walks all over the country, including 39 states and Washington, D.C.

“If we walk every day we can keep diabetes away, keep it in check, turn it around,” Bendl said. “Love yourself and go for a walk.”

He said he stopped keeping track of his miles two years ago when he reached 6,000.

Walks end after he reaches a goal, time limit or becomes injured.

This time his goal was to walk to Michigan.

“Now I’m here so the rest is gravy,” Bendl said. “I think I’ll probably get to St. Joe.”

Nice and the 80-pound inflatable globe have accompanied Bendl on each trip.

To follow his progress, visit his website worldguy.org or like him on Facebook.

 

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