Erik Bendl may not have the weight of the

world on his shoulders but he’s definitely dragging it along for the ride.

Bendl, 50, hails from Louisville, Ky. He

was in Orange Thursday morning as part of his walk across the country to raise

diabetes awareness — prevention of the disease and control of it for a better

life. What makes this walk even more interesting is he brings his dog, Nice, on

the trip, but he also tugs along a huge inflatable globe to raise world

awareness for diabetes.

“My mother died from diabetes at age

54. Her brother lived with diabetes until he was 84 which shows you can control

it and live a long life,” he said.

Bendl has walked 35 states so far. He’ll

go to Dallas and visit a portion of the state before heading to Arkansas. He’ll

then go to Tennessee and Michigan.

“This is my sixth walk since January

11. I left then from Seminole, Ala. I’ve walked 5,000 miles and I have hundreds

of patches on my globe. I plan to visit all the states of the lower 48 in short

intervals,” Bendl said.

Bendl was in Louisiana before he arrived

in Texas. He said he’s grateful he can walk off all of the delicious food he

ate in Louisiana.

Rolling the big inflatable ball can be

challenging sometimes, particularly during implement weather. Bendl said he

just has to be patient when that happens. He was fortunate to leave Wisconsin

before the snow fell by escaping to the south.

Bendl said he also relies on the kindness

of strangers in his travels and help him along the way.

“I also work as a carpenter and I

save money. People are kind and helpful,” he said.

Bendl has a website at

that helps the American Diabetes Association.

“Ultimately, we would like to find a

cure with the donations. Love yourself and go for a walk. Take care of your

diabetes,” he said.