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Man pushing giant globe across country to raise awareness for diabetes

Erik Bendl of Louisville, Ky., pushes a giant globe with his companion, Nice, as they walk west Tuesday along Highway 10 near Glyndon. Bendl is walking across the country to raise awareness for diabetes and to encourage people to get healthy through walking. "Love yourself, enjoy life and get out and walk," Bendl said as he battled the windy weather. Bendl is blogging his journey at David Samson / The Forum

GLYNDON, Minn. - It's not every day you see a man walking with a 6-foot globe and a dog tethered to his waist.

But Erik Bendl and his canine companion, Nice, have a healthy cause.

With more than 3,000 miles of roadway in 26 states under his feet, Bendl is making his fifth cross-country trip in hopes of educating people about diabetes, a disease that killed his mom when she was 54.

"Much too young," Bendl said of his mother's 1977 death. "But she did not take care of her diabetes."

On July 3, he began his current walk in Sheboygan, Wis., before heading to Iowa and Minnesota, where he visited the Mississippi River headwaters.

He neared Glyndon on Tuesday during a trek that will take him next to North Dakota and South Dakota.

Bendl, who aims to walk 10 to 15 miles a day, has a simple message: "Love yourself - go for a walk."

He also keeps an online journal and encourages people to stop and talk with him about diabetes. His blog can be found at