Journey From Lubbock to Save the World

Erik Bendl once “saved the world.” Starting Wednesday morning in Lubbock he set out to do it again.
By James Clark

LUBBOCK, TX -- Erik Bendl once “saved the world.” Starting Wednesday morning in Lubbock he set out to do it again.  

Bendl is hard to miss as he’s walking along the Clovis Highway between Lubbock and Shallowater.  He’s rolling a giant ball painted up to look like the world. 

It’s his way of bringing attention to diabetes prevention.  In the last 13 years he’s walked more than 6,000 miles through 40 states.

He first saw his six-foot tall world in someone’s trash years ago.  He pulled it out – thus his claim that he “saved the world.” 

This time the stakes are much higher.  He’s trying to save the world from diabetes, and he has stories and pictures on his website to prove that he’s making an impact.

“She was the reason I started this,” Bendl said of his mother who died at the age of 54.  Only adding to his sense of urgency, his brother-in-law died about a year ago. 

“Lubbock is the center from anywhere,” Bendl said.

Bendl drove to Lubbock to start his newest walking campaign which will be Clovis, New Mexico.  Weather permitting, Albuquerque is next.

Before he could start turning the world again, he had to make repairs to it.  So he searched out some help in the Depot District for an artist to remake some of North America.

“Larry at the Tornado Gallery helped out.” Bendl said.  “It was all just perfect.”

“If you have faith that things will work out then they usually do.”

The before and after pictures show a world in tatters that now looks brand new.  His world weighs 60 to 80 pounds.

The way this works is that he leaves his van behind and walks 5 to 15 miles per day.  Then he accepts a ride from someone back to his van at the end of his walk.

“Every day I find someone to take me back to my van,” Bendl said as an almost proud proclamation of how generous people have been along his journey. 

Those who wish to donate to his cause can do so on his website  Bendl said the proceeds to go the American Diabetes Association. 

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