Change Makers

A journey for clean water: Voices from the Global 6K

World Vision’s Global 6K for Water® is a one-day event where people from all over the world walk, run, or roll 6 kilometers to equip children and families in need with lasting clean water. Why a 6K? It’s the average distance women and children in the developing world walk every day for water — water that is often dirty and can make them sick. With the Global 6K, every registration fee equips one person in need with lasting access to clean water through World Vision projects. Every step you take is one they won’t have to.™

You can do the Global 6K anywhere! Go the distance by yourself, with your family, or as part of a church or community group, and be part of this global movement to change lives. Whether you join from the treadmill or your favorite trail, your neighborhood or your local school track … when you and thousands of others around the world walk, roll, jog, or stroller-run your way to 6K on May 20, 2023, you’ll help those who need it most access life-changing clean water.

When you sign up, we’ll send you an event kit with everything you need to walk, run, or roll your 6K, including a T-shirt, a medal, and a unique race bib with the picture of a child in need of clean water. Your $50 registration benefits World Vision’s water initiatives. And we have plenty of resources to help you and your family prepare.

Check out what people like you have to say about how fun and impactful it is to participate in the Global 6K for Water:

Walk, run, or roll in the Global 6K for Water May 20, 2023.

A decade-long tradition

By Laura Reinhardt
Published February 24, 2023

A young girl and her grandma pose with arms around each other, smiling in their orange World Vision Global 6K shirts.
Even when the COVID-19 pandemic required World Vision’s Global 6K to go virtual, grandmother and granddaughter still walked together to equip others with clean water. (©2020 photo courtesy of Susy Masih)

For Susy and her granddaughter, Siachen, walking World Vision’s Global 6K for Water is more than just an annual event; it’s a tradition that’s lasted a decade. What started as a fundraiser for clean water has become a way for them to bond and make a difference in the world. “There’s always something you can do,” Susy tells Siachen. “You have help in your feet.”

The longstanding tradition between the duo first began in 2013, when Susy affixed Siachen to her chest and strode the 6-kilometer distance. In 2014, Susy wheeled Siachen in a stroller during the big event. By 2015, at 4 years old, Siachen was set on stepping every stride to complete the 6 kilometer walk with her grandmother by her side. And she’s done the same every year since.

Together, they raise awareness and funds to equip communities with access to clean water. “Me and my nani have a lot of friends. And our friends donate money,” Siachen says, “to help get clean water for other kids.” Siachen and Susy’s circle of friends has proved to be quite extensive. In 2021, Siachen emerged as the top youth fundraiser in the United States, garnering $4,840.50 for clean water. The following year, she nearly doubled her record, landing at $9,531, which translates to 190 people receiving access to clean water. Throughout Susy and Siachen’s decade-long tradition, they have raised $39,047, bringing clean water closer for 780 individuals. Read more >>

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A man in orange and blue shirt stands with one arm raised up to orange, white, and blue balloons.
Pastor Chad McDaniel celebrates his church’s participants at the 2019 Global 6K event at his church. (©2019 World Vision)

“Waste” your life for Jesus: A pastor’s call to action

By Laura Reinhardt
Published April 7, 2021

In a sermon at Arvada Covenant Church, Pastor Chad McDaniel encouraged his congregation to be willing to “waste” their lives for Jesus, giving their time, talents, and treasures to things that the world may not value highly but are in line with their God-given calling.

The disciples saw the canister of expensive perfume used to anoint Jesus, as a waste. But Jesus defined it as a beautiful thing done in sacrificial love and devotion to Him.

The path God guides you on may not align with the expectations of others or be easy for them to comprehend. When Chad was preparing for marathons, half-marathons, and the Global 6K for Water with Team World Vision, his friends asked why he was out there spending so much time, energy, and physical effort running.

“I do it to bring change to people’s lives,” he responded to them. “Having seen the work on the ground, this is actually changing people’s lives — the [lives of the] most vulnerable.”

Chad has witnessed many people’s transformation after participating in the Global 6K, including those who used to feel disconnected from the church and unsure how to be involved. One woman’s perception of the church shifted from being self-focused to being a strong advocate for helping the world’s most vulnerable people.

Chad shares that he’s also experienced personal changes through his involvement with Team World Vision, finding a deeper sense of purpose and urgency in his marathon training and fundraising efforts. He saw his commitment as a responsibility to the people who were counting on him, which motivated him to keep going even on challenging days.

According to Chad, setting up the Global 6K is easier than organizing Vacation Bible School. “You’re literally sharing a link with people,” Chad says. “It’s like the easiest thing in the world.” Read more >>

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Two teenage girls pose in their bright orange World Vision Global 6K shirts.
This race was more enjoyable because I got to run with Vera,” says Catherine (right) who did World Vision’s Global 6K alongside her friend. (©2021 photo courtesy of Catherine Yu)

Empowering youth: Catherine and Vera fundraise for clean water

By Laura Reinhardt
Published March 3, 2022

Catherine became involved with Team World Vision through her church, Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston. Two years after she participated in her first Global 6K for Water, she invited her friend Vera to join. Their involvement with the fundraiser grew over time, and this year they organized a bake sale in addition to participating in the run. They contacted friends and family, designed posters, and created a Google Form to keep track of donations. They even baked brownies and Rice Krispies Treats™ to deliver to those who ordered. Through their efforts, they were able to raise $2,027 from over 80 donors and were among the top youth fundraisers for the event.

For Catherine and Vera, being involved in fundraising for clean water is about recognizing the privilege they have and using it to help others. They believe that access to clean water is a basic human right, and fundraisers like World Vision’s Global 6K are their way of making a small contribution to a greater solution. Participating in the run and organizing a bake sale also gave them a chance to connect with their community and feel physically connected to the cause. They encourage others to participate in the Global 6K, reminding them that every contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference in someone’s life. Read more >>

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A woman holds an infant and stands next to a man. They both smile in front of a bulletin board filled with drawings.
Elizabeth Botts and her husband, Brian, finally get to take baby Lucille home after 74 days in the hospital. Baby Bennett’s ashes rest in the box Brian holds. (©2020 photo courtesy of Elizabeth Botts)

Walking through grief: How the Global 6K helped one mother find hope after loss

Adapted from a story by Elizabeth Botts
Published April 8, 2022

Elizabeth found out she was pregnant with twins several months before the 2020 Global 6K for Water. Knowing she’d be far along in her pregnancy, she signed up to walk the race with two bibs in honor of her soon-to-be children.

Her plans took a tragic turn when the twins, Lucille and Bennett, were born 12 weeks premature. Bennett suffered from a massive brain bleed and died just four days after his birth. Lucille spent 74 days in the NICU, fighting for her life.

In honor of her son, Elizabeth set a goal to raise $10,000 for the 2021 Global 6K for Water, so that 200 people would have access to clean water and mothers would not have to experience the pain of losing a child because of waterborne diseases. “Life is a miracle, and a newborn baby can bring unimaginable joy. But death is gut-wrenching, and the cause being something as simple as of lack of clean water is just unfathomable,” Elizabeth says.

With the support of her community, Elizabeth reached her goal and participated in the event with her family. To her surprise, the boy they were walking for was named Beni.

Elizabeth hopes that others who are mourning can find their own way to heal. For Elizabeth, she found solace and purpose in raising money to provide clean water for vulnerable children.

Read Elizabeth’s story in her own words. >>

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A woman’s hand holds a cutout and hand-colored drawing of a gray Peep bunny wearing an orange cape.
One of Kathy Risolvo’s students drew Kathy as he sees her, a hero. (©2021 photo courtesy of Kathy Caffero Risolvo)

How a teacher’s run for water became a hero’s journey

By Kathy Caffero Risolvo
Published April 7, 2022

Kathy Risolvo, a teacher and Team World Vision runner, has shared her firsthand experience about how training for the Chicago marathon and running for clean water have transformed not only her own life but also the lives of her students. The marathon experience was the most complex set of feelings she has ever had. Pushing her body to something she never saw possible, raising more money than she could have imagined, and being surrounded by thousands of people experiencing the same level of excitement and commitment was an incredible experience that she will never forget.

The collective impact that the Global 6K participants had on people they would never meet was overwhelming, but Kathy also saw firsthand the impact she had on those she encounters every day. For an assignment, one of her students drew a picture of someone he looked up to (styled as a Peeps® candy). It was Kathy as a runner with Team World Vision, wearing a cape.

Inspired by their teacher, some of Kathy’s students began signing up for 5Ks and reading about the global water crisis. Change was happening within Kathy’s classroom and within herself. She realized that she had been wearing labels that she would never have chosen for herself — divorced, single mom, unhealthy, scatterbrained, and messy. However, during this season, she received new labels — committed, disciplined, runner, loved, and superhero. She was excited to see what God had in store for her next, knowing that the experience had transformed her life in ways she never thought possible. Read Kathy’s words >>

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A woman with shoulder-length hair wears sunglasses and an orange shirt and holds a megaphone.
Nicole Wetmore is the host site leader for Green Valley Community Church’s participation in the 6K event and subsequent Celebration Sunday. (©2018 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

A California pastor’s unforgettable experience at the Global 6K for Water

By Heather Klinger
Published May 10, 2019

Nicole Wetmore, the local and global missions pastor at Green Valley Community Church in Placerville, California, had one of her most unforgettable moments when she met her sponsored child, 5-year-old Grace, in Uganda. Grace had been the child on Nicole’s race bib when she participated in the Global 6K for Water.

“I walked on behalf of Grace because it’s a small way for me to contribute to a greater cause,” Nicole says.

Through the $50 registration fee, every participant in the Global 6K provides clean water for one person in need. Their race bibs feature the name, age, and picture of a child benefiting from World Vision’s clean water work.

“These are real people with real issues, and real hopes, and real dreams, and they are facing real challenges too,” Nicole says.

Six kilometers, or 3.7 miles, is the average distance a person in developing countries must walk to find water — water that is often not safe to drink or wash their hands with. Women and children often carry a 20-liter jerrycan, weighing 44 pounds, and make multiple trips.

The thought of her own children braving such an ordeal to quench their thirst — with the risk of potentially life-threatening consequences — had put the Global 6K’s impact into perspective for Nicole, prompting her to spread awareness and encourage others to make a difference through the Global 6K. She was pleasantly surprised to find that many people were excited about participating in the event once they understood its purpose. Almost 170 people participated in Green Valley’s Global 6K in 2018.

Following the event, Nicole’s church remained committed to raising awareness of the global water crisis and its impact on children. Congregation members were informed of the significant role they could play in improving a child’s life.

“With Celebration Sunday, we get to not only celebrate what’s happened with the Global 6K, but also take a look at child sponsorship in a different way,” Nicole says.

Nicole’s decision to sponsor Grace — the child on her Global 6K race bib — led to a journey of over 9,000 miles to Morungatuny, Uganda in October 2018. Upon Nicole’s arrival, Grace welcomed her with a radiant smile that reflected Nicole’s own joy.

Visiting Grace’s community provided a personal perspective on the impact of sponsorship. Although Nicole was heartbroken at the thought of her own children collecting water at such a young age, she found hope in the work World Vision was doing in the area — investing in community leaders and empowering people to take ownership of their community.

Grace is just one of 36 children who were sponsored through the Global 6K for Water and Celebration Sunday in Green Valley in 2018. In total, more than 2,000 children were sponsored through the event. For Nicole, meeting Grace gave a deeper meaning to Green Valley’s efforts to fight the global water crisis.

“It’s something we’re all called to do — to help, serve, and love those in need,” Nicole says. “Whether it’s in our backyard or across the globe, this is something every church, every organization can participate in. We can all do something together to solve the global water crisis.” Read more >>

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An American family poses with a Kenyan girl in Kenya.
The Moffitt family of Missouri meets Maurine, the girl who inspired their clean water fundraising efforts, in Kenya. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

A simple yes can make a big impact

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published March 11, 2020

With each stride, the Moffitt family has leaned into the power of saying yes to God’s calling. Their dedication to running half-marathons, full marathons, and Global 6Ks with Team World Vision not only pushed their physical limits but also enabled them to experience God in new ways and build unexpected friendships.

Through their running and fundraising efforts, Shayla, Bryan, and their children, Addyson and Cayson, have raised over $130,000 to help provide clean water to children and families around the world.

“We’re enjoying the blessings of watching our children do incredible things,” says Bryan, 43.

Four years prior, Shayla said yes to running — a decision that soon yielded profound outcomes. “It’s a great reminder that a simple yes can make a big impact.”

In 2016, Shayla attended a church service where a Team World Vision speaker challenged everyone to participate in the Kansas City Half-Marathon. Despite having previously run a half-marathon in 2015, which turned out to be a terrible experience due to unfavorable weather conditions and misjudged distance, Shayla felt a strong pull in her heart to take up the challenge once again.

An American girl and a Kenyan girl smile together.
Addyson Moffitt and Maurine, a girl from Kenya, formed a friendship at the 2016 Kansas City Half-Marathon. (Photo courtesy of the Moffitt family)

During the 2016 Kansas City Marathon, Michael Chitwood, co-founder of Team World Vision, introduced his sponsored child, Maurine, and spoke about the need for clean water in communities around the world. Seven-year-old Addyson was deeply moved and determined to see every child have access to clean water in her lifetime. She decided to run the half-marathon the following year and filled out a card indicating her intention to do so.

The next day, while Shayla was running the marathon, Addyson met Maurine and the two quickly became friends. They played together throughout the day and continued to play and laugh the following day when Michael spoke at the Moffitts’ church. Addyson’s new friendship with Maurine and her desire to help children in need had a deep impact on her. That night she told Shayla, “Mom, you know that I’m going to live in Africa someday.”

Upon returning home, Bryan and Shayla continued to share with their children about the water crisis, using resources on World Vision’s website. As they learned more, Addyson became increasingly passionate about helping those who lacked access to clean water. Rather than trying to dissuade her from her ambitious goal, Shayla and Bryan decided to support their daughter’s vision, and prayed for guidance as she embarked on a journey to raise funds for clean water.

Addyson hit her initial goal of $1,310, representing the 13.1 miles she would run in a half-marathon, and raised it to $3,000, then $5,000, and then $10,000, breaking it down into smaller and more attainable goals, which they prayed for each week.

On race day, she was nervous yet excited. Despite only having run 10 miles before the big day, Addyson fed off the energy of her Team World Vision teammates and the cheering supporters along the way.

Two American kids and two Kenyan kids pose for a photo.
Cayson, Patrick, Lucy, and Addyson smile for a photo while visiting with each other in Kenya. Cayson and Addyson’s family sponsors Lucy and Patrick. (©2019 World Vision/photo by Chris Huber)

Addyson later appeared on The Steve Harvey Show in November 2018 to share her story. Steve Harvey surprised the Moffitt family with a trip to Kenya to meet their sponsored children, Lucy and Patrick, and visit Maurine.

When Addyson and Cayson’s spring break arrived, the family set off for Kenya.

As they approached the village of Bartabwa, the air was filled with excitement and anticipation. The nervous butterflies in their stomachs soon dissipated as they were warmly welcomed by the family. Meeting Lucy and her family was a life-changing experience for Addyson. As her family toured their homestead, they were struck by the pride and joy the family felt in their home and way of life. The trip was a reminder that despite living in different parts of the world, they were all part of one family.

The past four years have been a whirlwind for the Moffitts. After appearing once again on the Steve Harvey Show, Addyson went on to raise $70,000 while training for and running the 2019 Kansas City Half-Marathon. Together, the family has raised over $130,000 for clean water since the end of 2016. Addyson’s efforts have touched her parents and inspired them to invite people into their story.

As they continue to run, fundraise, and share their story, the Moffitt family never loses sight of their ultimate purpose: spreading the hope of the gospel. They believe that the work they do, along with World Vision, provides not only physical relief but also eternal hope. They have turned their fundraising efforts over to God and follow wherever He leads them. They pray that God opens doors and opportunities and blesses the children who receive clean water. Their hope is that more people will join their story and work toward ending the global water crisis. Read more >>

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Unexpected surprise at the finish line

By Sevil Omer
Published March 12, 2020

Ashlyn and Victor Fernandez.
Ashlyn accepted Victor’s proposal at the 2018 Global 6K for Water. (Photo courtesy of Victor Fernandez)

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Ashlyn Fernandez used leg braces to walk the 2018 Global 6K. “I wanted to prove to myself that I could do it and to push the boundaries,” she says. But it ended up being harder than she imagined. “Midway, I turned back. It was difficult to keep going. I did the best I could, and I learned that it was okay.”

When Ashlyn finished, she was sweaty and sore, never expecting a heart-melting surprise: a wedding proposal. “I was blown away,” Ashlyn says. Victor, her college sweetheart and private second-class with the U.S. Army Reserve, was waiting on bended knee and holding a bright green sign that read, “Ashlyn, will you marry me?”

They married on December 15, 2018.

For 2020, the couple hopes to walk the 6K together with their congregation from Hillside Alliance.

“Being in service to make an impact in the life of a child is amazing, and the Global 6K for Water opens that door for everybody,” Ashlyn says. “I have been given so much and feel blessed in my life that if I can do something to serve God, to be the hands and feet of Jesus, to make an impact in the life of a child, that is the greatest privilege.”

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Helena Autischer
Photo courtesy of Helena Autischer

More than an event for Helena

By Sevil Omer
Published March 12, 2020

“Before we started our Global 6K here at my school, I realized that my water bottle that I carried in my backpack was empty,” says Helena Autischer, 16, of  Althofen, Austria.

“I said to my friends, ‘Wait for me, I am going to get some water,’ and suddenly I realized the people we were walking for on this day don’t have the same opportunity to just walk a few feet away to get clean water. So I waited through the whole 6K, and let me tell you, it was hard!”

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In 2017, Wendy Eckman ran the Seattle Rock n Roll marathon as part of Team World Vision to raise money for clean water in Africa. She ran in between her chemo appointments and finished strong!
Wendy Eckman celebrates after running the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon as part of Team World Vision to raise money for clean water in Africa. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

‘I double-dog dare you’

By Laura Reinhardt
Published Feb. 22, 2019

In 2017, a baldheaded woman crossed the finish line of the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll marathon. She kicked her leg up in triumph. That woman was Wendy Eckman, and the road to that line had been full of unexpected twists and turns. She says, “This event … literally saved my life.”

This year, she and her 12-year-old granddaughter, Kathrynn — whom she calls Lulu — are running World Vision’s Global 6K for Water together in preparation for another marathon. Wendy’s thinking about running with Team World Vision again in the Chicago marathon.

She challenges others who are thinking about doing World Vision’s Global 6K or a half or full marathon. “I double-dog dare you,” she laughs. Then more seriously she adds, “If there’s a notion of curiosity, then someone’s planted a seed.” She says that if you can walk 20 minutes a day, then you can do it.

God took a woman with a fear of missing out on something fun, led her to train for a marathon, and saved her life in the process. Wendy says, “That proves that God has a sense of humor. He will use what he needs to use to get you to do what he wants you to do.” Read more >>

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Judy Carlson, 71, walked the 2017 Global 6K for Water at her own pace — slow and steady, using her cane for support. Six kilometers is the average distance people in the developing world walk for water. Judy walked her 6K for 6-year-old Bintou from Mali. Who will you walk for?
Judy Carlson, 71, uses her cane for support while walking the Global 6K for Water with her friend Debbie Torres, 61, in Portage, Indiana. Team World Vision Manager Steve Spear doubled back on his bike after finishing his 6K run to walk alongside them. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Heather Klinger)

Global 6K for Water: ‘If she can do it, you can totally do it’

By Heather Klinger
Published May 2, 2018

The excitement was palpable on May 6, 2017, for families in Portage, Indiana. It wasn’t only World Vision’s Global 6K for Water at Real Life Community Church; it was the local high school’s much-anticipated prom night.

Students and parents alike were excited to complete the Global 6K but also excited to get on to hair appointments, picking up corsages, and getting ready for the big dance. So about an hour-and-a-half after the 6K began that morning, pastors and volunteers started to close the course that about 75 people had completed to expedite the clean-up process.

When a family — which volunteers thought were the final participants — came around the corner to cheers and the banging of cowbells, instead of first celebrating, they shouted to the crowd that Judy and Debbie were still on the course behind them. Suddenly everyone was in motion once again to restore the course.

Meanwhile, 71-year-old Judy Carlson was walking the Global 6K at her own pace — slowly and steadily using her cane for support. On her race bib was Bintou, 6, from Mali. Read more >>

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A woman kneels at the table after finishing a walk to bring clean water to people around the world. She is filling out a form to sponsor the child through World Vision.
Six months pregnant and having finished the 2017 Global 6K for Water in Seattle, Brittany Kukal kneels down to fill out a form to sponsor Innocent, a child in Malawi. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

Two children brought together by clean water and a mother’s love

By Phil Manzano
Published April 25, 2018

Brittany Kukal, 31, of Kirkland, Washington, kneeled down to fill out the form at the sponsorship table at last year’s Global 6K for Water at Gas Works Park in Seattle. She had been on her feet awhile having just finished a 6-kilometer loop and she was, after all, six months pregnant.

“I felt great. I felt empowered,” Brittany says. “I felt encouraged, and I felt like the Lord was really here today. It was wonderful.”

Around the globe, about 844 million people lack access to clean water, and people in the developing world walk an average of 6 kilometers to find water. Oftentimes, it’s women and children who make that walk, lugging heavy cans to bring back water that is likely impure and unsanitary.

A friend told Brittany about the Global 6K for Water last year and encouraged her to sign up. “I gave it a lot of thought, a lot of prayer. And being I’m six months pregnant, I thought it’s a great way to really engage and understand what these women and families go through,” she says.

And it was a way to make giving more personal, “to actually experience the walking and the process just makes it more real for you,” she says. Every $50 Global 6K for Water registration fee will provide clean water for one person.

But walking the 6K wasn’t without some concern, Brittany says; it was her first child and a high-risk pregnancy. But with her doctor’s approval and time spent praying, she moved full-speed ahead, wanting to empathize with mothers’ globally.

Brittany Kukal, with her medal and picture of her sponsored child after walking in the Global 6K for Water last year. (©2017 World Vision/photo by Andrea Peer)

As she walked, her race bib featured a boy from Malawi named Innocent. And it was Innocent she sponsored at the table that Saturday morning.

“I think as I bring my baby into the world and being able to provide for him — a lot of kids don’t get that,” she says. “I actually sponsored the kid I walked for today. That really means a lot to me because now we get to continue that relationship.”

Today, you could say that Brittany has two children: Leo, who was born after the Global 6K, is now 8 months old and Innocent in Malawi.

“I wanted to participate for all the right reasons,” she says. “It ended up being really good.”

Leo and Innocent are already linked in some way. “Honestly, I did it for my son,” Brittany says about sponsoring Innocent. “A lot of what I do now is for my son.” She shows Leo pictures of Innocent, and one day she hopes Leo will write to Innocent.

She will raise Leo alongside Innocent — who will open up not only other parts of the world to him but lessons in kindness and encouragement.

“If I can help another child in some way, it’ll set a good example for my son and also it helps me too — to feel more connected and to give me purpose,” she says.

Brittany has signed up to participate again in the Global 6K for Water May 19, 2018, at Gas Works Park — this time with little Leo in a stroller.

And she’s excited to be joining together with a group of mothers who are walking the Global 6K together.

We wanted a child for a long time, Brittany says. It changes your world and mindset. You really focus on what matters doing the 6K; it gives you an idea and glimpse into life.

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Mom and 7-year-old daughter sitting together wearing World Vision Global 6K for Water shirts.
Kari and Kamryn Thackrey, of Flora, Illinois, participated in the 2017 Global 6K for Water to help bring clean water to people who need it. This year, they’re inspiring their community to join them to increase their impact. (©2017 Genesis Photos/photo by Sean Loftin)

7-year-old girl leads Illinois community’s Global 6K for Water

By Chris Huber
Published Feb. 15, 2018

Carrying a tea kettle, 5-year-old Cheru walks more than 6 kilometers with her siblings to dig for water in a dry riverbed in Kenya. The water often makes them sick, but they have no other choice. (©2016 World Vision/photo by Jon Warren)

The last thing 7-year-old Kamryn Thackrey sees before she goes to bed each night is a photo of Cheru, a 5-year-old girl from northern Kenya, holding a tea kettle full of dirty water on her head. Cheru looks tired from walking 6 kilometers with her siblings to collect water for their family to use for cooking, drinking, and bathing.

The photo inspires Kamryn and reminds her to pray for Cheru: that she would get access to clean water and not have to walk so far for it.

Kamryn and her family participated in the Global 6K for Water last year in their hometown of Flora, Illinois. The second-grader and her little sister, Abigail, spearheaded their effort to raise $1,200. That’s enough to help provide clean water to 24 people like Cheru.

“I was excited that I got to help kids not have to walk so far and that they could have clean water,” Kamryn says. “And I liked walking with my mom and dad and sister and brother.”

Kamryn’s journey with Cheru began early last spring. One day, her mom, Kari, was sorting through the mail and about to toss out the World Vision magazine, when the cover photo caught Kamryn’s eye. “Who is this?!” Kamryn asked.

When Kari took her over to the couch to read it together, Cheru’s story brought Kamryn to tears. Cheru was 5 in the photo, the same age as Abigail.

“Kamryn started crying and I said, ‘what’s wrong?’” Kari recounts. “She said, ‘I can’t imagine Abigail having to walk that far for water. That would be scary.’”

So Kamryn decided to do something about it. She and her family signed up for the 2017 Global 6K for Water. This was the first time they had done anything like this, but they knew it was the right thing to do. As they began fundraising and planning the race course, Kamryn shared Cheru’s story with her class, friends, family members, and kids at her church. She and Abigail made promotional fliers and posted a video on Facebook. Supportive parents and affirming comments on social media helped motivate the sisters to keep sharing Cheru’s story.

“We were losing-our-minds excited when money kept coming in,” Kari says.

The family charted their own 6K course and invited another family to join them.

“We enjoyed being able to do it just on our own, rather than drive to a big event, but knowing we were part of something bigger,” Kari says.

Kamryn is planning to host a bigger Global 6K event in her community and raise more money for water this year. Kari says they hope to rally a few more of Flora’s 5,000 residents to participate. “I want to try and do a big one at my church,” Kamryn says.

She began promoting this one before Christmas.

“Once she sets her mind to something, there is no swaying her in a different direction,” Kari says. “From the moment she read the first magazine about Cheru, we as a family were sold.”

Kamryn has been praying expectantly for Cheru since last spring. We give thanks that Cheru and her community now have access to clean water!

“Awesome,” Kamryn says matter-of-factly. “We will walk for other kids now.”

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8-year-old Luke Flowers used his birthday to give back by running World Vision's Global 6K for Water with his friends.
Not many 8-year-olds would use their birthday as an opportunity to give back, but last year, Luke ran World Vision’s 6K for Water with his friends. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Charlie Leight)

An 8-year-old spends his birthday running 6K for water

By Alissa Sandoval
Published March 23, 2017

Not many 8-year-olds would use their birthday as an opportunity to give back, but on March 19, 2016, Luke Flowers from Phoenix, Arizona did. Instead of the usual games and cake, his birthday party went the extra mile — an extra 3.7 miles, to be exact. He invited his entire school to join him in running the 6K for Water, and on race day, Luke and 10 of his best friends ran together and raised $1,755 for clean water in Africa.

“I decided to run because I thought it would be fun, and it was,” he says.

Luke encourages running the Global 6K with a group because not only is it more fun, but more runners equals more impact. He enjoys organizing friends and family to make a difference, and he loves knowing that this race will help change the lives of people who live without access to clean water.

Jessica Flowers, Luke’s mom, says Luke’s birthday was a way for him and other second graders to both celebrate and do something for others at the same time.

“This was a great way to introduce the kids to World Vision’s mission and give them a chance to give back,” she shared. “They were proud of themselves for running and proud of themselves for making a difference.

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Malinda doesn’t love running, but “getting clean water to people who need it is life and death,” she says. That's why she runs the Global 6K for Water.
Malinda doesn’t love running, but “getting clean water to people who need it is life and death,” she says. That’s why she runs the Global 6K for Water.

Following God’s call to run 6K for clean water

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published March 23, 2017

Malinda Fugate has known about World Vision “for what feels like a zillion years.” The 33-year-old from Torrance, California, has sponsored a child since 2003, and when she used to work for a radio station, she partnered with World Vision several times. But when she moved into children’s ministry work at her church, Faith Presbyterian, in 2015, her relationship with World Vision began to change.

“We worked on a project where our younger kids could be hands-on, and we thought a fundraiser for clean water could be good to show them about the need for water,” she says. “We said, ‘Let’s walk the distance many children walk and have them carry the water.’”

The first year they did the 6K for Water, more than 50 people participated at a local park, even though “it was hotter in L.A. than it was in Kenya,” Malinda says.

Last year, her church partnered with another church, and more than 70 people joined the event. The Global 6K sparked questions in the children who participated. “Kids started thinking outside of the box,” she says, asking questions about children living in poverty.

The event also pushed Malinda to new places as she dealt with the pain of her divorce. “This past year especially has been a rocky one,” Malinda says. “God and my friends convinced me to do a half marathon to raise money with Team World Vision, and that’s been transformative. It’s not just time with God, but it’s also the discipline of running.”

This year she plans to run in the Global 6K for Water and another half marathon. And though she doesn’t love running like some Team World Vision members, “the bottom line is, getting clean water to people who need it is life and death.”

“When God calls you to do something, not being obedient is way more scary than obediently running a bunch of miles every morning,” she says. “Whenever you’re serving God, he changes you. That’s how he works.”

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Walk for water leads to Chicago woman’s healing

By Phil Manzano and Laura Blank
Published March 17, 2017

Iza Narciso had just completed World Vision’s Global 6K for Water in Chicago last year — she was breathless, sweaty but full of joy: She had come full circle to get out of poverty.

Her post-race video interview captured a moment of profound healing for Iza, who grew up in Angola walking miles every day in search of water. Each step of the Global 6K in Chicago reminded her of her own struggle and the struggle of millions of women and children who walk for water.

“As a little girl, I was maybe 5, I would have to walk every single day to look for water. That was a reality for me,” Iza says. “I don’t remember how many miles, but I remember that we would try to find water wherever water was.”

When she found water, there were often crowds; people fought to fill their jugs before the source ran out. And walking back, while balancing a heavy jug on your head, other children would ask for water, “but you have to keep walking because your family is counting on you for this water.

“So you get home with a little bit of water,” Iza remembers, “and this water is just so precious. Every bit of it is counted.” She remembers long excruciating nights of going to sleep thirsty as her mother strictly rationed their water.

As young children, Iza and her sister fled civil war in Angola. A social worker at a refugee center in Belgium essentially adopted and raised them, she says. Iza came to the United States to study at Loyola University, receiving a degree in literature. She now owns a daycare in Chicago.

Last year, members of Team World Vision came to her church and spoke about the Global 6K. Because of her past, she was intrigued and signed up. But she was unprepared for the emotional impact.

“All of those people, warming up early on a Saturday morning, getting ready to run 6K, 7, 8, 9. And emotionally my heart was getting bigger and bigger. I couldn’t really handle the emotions. I was trying to search — why am I feeling this way? Why is this becoming so overwhelming for me?

“And I realize, it was the meaning of what they were doing. Those people in Chicago were running for me. And I realized all this time I was in Africa suffering, didn’t have access to clean water; I realized I was not alone. That there was a team of people trying hard to get water to me. It just means so much because no child should go without water.”

It was a healing moment — healing from the trauma of seeking water as a child.

“It just really means a lot to me that all this time, I was never alone,” Iza says. “Even in suffering, I was never alone. It just illustrates what God says — even in suffering, I am with you. The Bible has become so real for me.”

She looks forward to the upcoming Global 6K for Water and has adapted the 6K for the toddlers at her daycare. The children dress in orange, use sippy cups at the water stations and run a lap around the park. Money raised at the event last year was used to sponsor children through World Vision.

“It was so touching because we explained to the kids why we’re doing it,” Iza says. “I remember a 4-year-old looking at me, and she said she was tired and she didn’t want to do this anymore. And I explained why we are running, and I explained to her the picture of Sophie, our sponsored child. And she said, ‘I will finish the race.’ And she ran to the finish line. And when her mom came to pick her up, she said, ‘Mommy! I ran for Sophie because she didn’t have water. I ran for her!”

Photos and videos of children in need of clean water haunt Iza.

“That was me. And it’s painful. It hurts not to have water.”

But the realization that the children walking miles for dirty water were not forgotten and people were walking, running, and doing what they could to care for them is healing the trauma of poverty.

“I just want to say thank you for doing it for me,” Iza says. “You’re allowing me to stay alive. I wish I could do more. But you’re not just helping the kids in Africa; you’re also psychologically helping the adults like me.

“And you’re helping us feel better. And you’re also helping us to see God really. It’s just so powerful. The fact that they are running, it’s so meaningful. I can’t help but say thank you.”

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Kianna’s family walks 6K for water

By Kathryn Reid
Published March 17, 2017

California mom Kianna Lyons doesn’t take water for granted. But she’s not only concerned about the water shortages that have affected southern California where she lives. She has a heart for moms and children in sub-Saharan Africa who walk 6K (3.7 miles) daily to bring home dirty water, and she’s determined to do something about it.

Kianna has chosen to join World Vision’s Global 6K for Water. Like last year, she’ll walk with her husband and three children — ages 2, 5, and 7 — and other members of Highland Avenue Community Church of the Nazarene in Rancho Cucamonga.

“Clean water — this is something everyone should have,” says Kianna. She’s certain of that. When she first heard about the Global 6K at her church, she was less certain about participating.

“I’m not a runner at all!” she says. Kianna and her husband wondered if they would be expected to run. And what would they do with the kids? They were quickly reassured that runners, walkers, and stroller pushers are all welcome.

The family’s race kit included a bib with a picture of a child who needed clean water for each “racer” to wear. Maya and Owen, now 5 and 7, immediate “got it.”

“I bet he plays basketball,” said Owen about the boy whose picture they pinned on his shirt. Maya was determined to finish the course for the little girl whose picture she wore.

Kianna has kept the bibs because the Global 6K was such a great memory, she says.

“We could say … this is their name; this is what they look like. These are the people we hope we made a difference for. It’s like they are walking with you.”

It’s important to Kianna that her children understand what God has given them and give back. Her family has not always been able to do all she would like for others. Now it has become a top priority to her and her husband to model generosity for their children.

Walking the talk

Eighty people were expected for Highland Avenue Church’s first Global 6K, but even more joined the walk. Son Owen was quick out of the chute and confident of finishing strong.

But after about 4K, “everything began to break down,” Kianna says. Owen was flagging; Maya and other children needed piggyback rides.

Kianna realized then what a powerful experience and a “teaching moment” the Global 6K could be.

She reminded Owen that while the Global 6K was a once-a-year event for him, other children walked that far every day for water. That’s when he remembered: They carried water; he carried nothing but the bib on his shirt.

“That’s why we’re doing this,” Kianna assured him, “so the kids don’t have to.”

This year Owen knows exactly why he’ll be walking the 6K.

“We’re walking for people who don’t have water,” he says. “It’s to raise money to get clean water and water fountains for kids. And if we keep doing it every year, there will be lots of clean water!”

Walking to build community

In their first Global 6K, Highland Avenue Church’s participants ranged from “babies in strollers to kids on shoulders, kids riding scooters and bikes, all the way up to a man in his 90s,” says Pastor Gabriel (Gabe) Martin.

Pastor Martin’s five kids — ages 3 to 13 — took part. Like Kianna, he embraced the opportunity to broaden their understanding of their place in the world.

He told them: “Not only do we have blessings in our lives, but we are responsible to make sure that other kids are blessed as well.”

Walking the 6K together was a blessing and a transformative experience for his church family as well. Congregation members who had only seen each other in the pews found time to talk. They met parents and kids from the preschool attached to the church.

“I can’t think of any better opportunity to engage our entire congregation and community in something that has a global impact,” says Pastor Martin. “It reminds us of the mission that we’re called to as part of the body of Christ.”

Says Kianna, “It really felt like we came together as a community.”

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The Sibblies family from New York heard about the global water crisis and decided to do something about it — walk for water so others don't have to.
The Sibblies family — (from left) Winston, Shurawl, Matthew, and Sollande — near their home in Hopewell Junction, New York. (©2017 Genesis Photo Agency/photo by Christopher Capozziello)

Family feeds their souls by walking for water together

By Heather Klinger
Published March 15, 2017

The choice to walk a Global 6K was an easy one for Shurawl Sibblies. Part of the appeal was a family activity. A little bit was staying healthy. Then there was the faith motivation — wanting to serve people less fortunate.

The global water crisis is staggering. Worldwide, 771 million people live without access to clean water, and those in sub-Saharan Africa have it the worst. There, women and children spend a total of 20 million hours every day collecting water. They walk an average of 6 kilometers (about 3.7 miles) a day to get the water they need for drinking, cooking, bathing, and washing.

“I can’t imagine a child walking that long for water,” says Shurawl, the mother of two from Hopewell Junction, New York. “I had no idea the significance of that distance. It led us to think how privileged we are.”

So last year on a cold spring day, Shurawl walked and ran a 6K with her family — her husband, Winston; then-13-year-old daughter, Sollande; then-8-year-old son, Matthew; and her church community from Hopewell Reformed Church.

“It was fun to talk with people along the way, run with people along the way, and have our children participate,” Shurawl says. “People were out with their baby carriages and strollers, but there were also some avid, hardcore runners in our bunch.”

The Global 6K was right up Sollande’s alley; Matthew was more reluctant. But when Shurawl asked him, “Wouldn’t you like to help another child? Think of how much you have,” he agreed to join the rest of the family.

That’s the bonus appeal of the Global 6K for Shurawl — instilling good values in her kids, like thinking of others first and missional living.

After receiving their race bibs in the mail — each with a child’s name, age, and photo — the family prayed together for the children on their bibs.

Next came fundraising to provide clean water for kids and communities in need. “When I reached out to people to donate,” Shurawl says, “they were happy to give, and I was happy to give. I give where my heart is called.”

This year, Shurawl and her family are again signed up for the Global 6K for Water.

“It is something I would highly recommend,” Shurawl says. “It’s fun. It’s for a good cause. You’re giving, and you’re also receiving something in the process. Doing something good for others feeds your soul.”

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Johgina Densmore has completed three 6K walks with World Vision to raise money for clean water for children in Africa. She hopes to double her team for this year's Global 6K for Water May 6, 2017.
Johgina Densmore has completed three 6K walks with World Vision to raise money for clean water for children in Africa. She hopes to double her 150-person team from last year in this year’s event on May 6. (Photo courtesy Johgina Densmore)

One woman creates a ripple in bringing clean water to impoverished communities

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published Jan. 11, 2017

As Johgina Densmore walked along Lake Michigan on a bitter November day in 2014, 20-mph winds pelted the lake water at her, repeatedly stinging her face.

But the fierce winds would not deter her and her best friends from finishing their walk in Chicago. Too much was riding on them finishing — they were walking a 6K with World Vision to bring clean water access to children and families in Africa who walk the same distance every day to get dirty, contaminated water.

“It was God who got me through those 20-mph winds on the lake,” 52-year-old Johgina says.

Despite not being a runner, when Johgina learned about the lack of access to clean water many families face, she signed up for the Global 6K with Team World Vision to raise money to do something about it. And in two-and-a-half years since that race against the harsh winds, her first step has multiplied into thousands — all making a difference in the lives of children halfway across the world.

“My life has changed regarding water,” Johgina says. “I was ignorant to the lack of clean water. Just to think that there are kids that don’t have access to clean water, and the water they do have access to is dirty and contaminated, it’s made me more self-conscious. I try to share this as much as I can and share the awareness so others’ eyes can be opened too.”

Gathering friends

Johgina already was making an impact on a community in Kenya by sponsoring a child with World Vision. But when she first heard about the Global 6K in 2014, despite knowing the need so many faced in the world, because of her sponsorship she was shocked to learn how many people don’t have access to clean water.

“When the 6K came up, and they were talking about providing clean water to kids in Africa, I was like ‘What? Everybody has clean water!’” she says. “But in my naiveté, I didn’t know.”

She learned that her entry fee would help provide clean water for one person, and it inspired her to take the first step and join the event as a walker.

“I am not a runner. I am a zero runner. I walk, jog, walk — and my jog is just a little faster than my walk,” Johgina says with a laugh.

She convinced her best friend, who competes as a triathlete, to join too and walk with her on that cold November day. The two finished, feeling empowered.

Steps multiplying

Johgina’s steps began to multiply in 2015 when she shared what she’d learned about water with friends from church and work. They were inspired to join her in the 2015 Global 6K — this time during a warmer month. That year, about 15 of her friends participated with her.

In 2016, Johgina felt God calling her to do even more, so she decided to captain a team and asked her pastor if they could announce it in church. Johgina says, “He had just a little bit of competition in his spirit, and he said, ‘This is what we’re doing, and we want to have the largest team — let’s sign up because of what this cause is; it’s phenomenal.’”

People stepped up, no matter their circumstances. One man didn’t even have proper shoes for the event, but she assured him he was going to be fine.

“He just really understood the value of walking the 6K,” she says. “We have to be able to do what the Bible tells us. Christ says, ‘I was in prison, and you came to see me, I was hungry, and you fed me, I was thirsty, and you gave me something to drink.’ We have to live those Scriptures.”

On race day, Johgina and a team of more than 150 people walked and ran the Global 6K’s 3.7 miles together — a far cry from that first race she walked with just one friend along Lake Michigan. On race day, Johgina made an even bigger impact by deciding to sponsor another child: a little girl from Kenya named Dorcas, whose picture was on her race bib.

Creating ripples

This year, Johgina wants to multiply her steps even more. She’s praying to double her team for the 2017 Global 6K for Water on May 6, and she’s already recruiting family and friends to join her.

“You don’t have to be a runner to make an impact,” she tells them. “You can make an impact just by walking. If you jog, you jog. If you run, that’s great. You have to look at the bigger picture.

“This may sound cliché, but people need to know they can be the pebble that’s thrown across the water. People think a pebble can’t make an impact, but it creates ripples, and the Global 6K can do that. They have to see themselves creating ripples and giving back.”

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Elisabeth Morton overcame being on a feeding tube to run the World Vision 6K for Water.
Elisabeth Morton overcame being on a feeding tube to run the World Vision 6K for Water. (©2015 Genesis Photos/photo by Matthew Bowie)

Once on a feeding tube, a Chicago woman runs 6K for clean water

By Kristy J. O’Hara-Glaspie
Published Oct. 25, 2015

Elisabeth Morton was one of the last to cross the finish line during World Vision’s Global 6K for Water in Chicago last year, but she collapsed in joy anyway.

Nobody thought she could finish the race, which raised money for World Vision’s clean water work in Africa.

“I fell over in tears,” the 28-year-old says, “and it was a great feeling to know God gave me what I needed to cross.”

The run was about more than reaching the finish line for Elisabeth, who suffers from an unexplained health condition. Starting in 2012, Elisabeth couldn’t eat or drink without excruciating pain, and while her diet contained the fattiest foods possible, she lost half of her body weight. Doctors still haven’t figured out why.

Just before Christmas that year, she was attached to a feeding tube, which was replaced five times in 17 months. Throughout it all, Elisabeth’s faith radiated to the medical staff around her as she confidently prayed for God’s sustenance and healing.

God is bigger and has a plan. He just asks us to submit to him.—Elisabeth Morton

Miraculously, in May 2014, she had improved enough for doctors to remove the feeding tube. Slowly Elisabeth regained weight, but her ability to eat remained restricted. Nevertheless, when a friend at church invited Elisabeth to join the World Vision 6K for Water, she decided to run.

She started running that summer, at first one block. Then a second block. She slowly linked those blocks together, building stamina and raising pledges for clean water in Africa. By the time the November race day arrived, determination consumed her.

“I have clean water,” she says. “I have food, even though it hates me. [Some children] don’t. I want to give back.”

Despite 20-degree temperatures and extreme wind that sent Lake Michigan waves splashing runners as they raced, Elisabeth persevered. When she crossed the finish line, everyone was amazed.

Elisabeth is training to run the Chicago Marathon with Team World Vision and raise even more for clean water. Her medical condition hasn’t improved, but she still sees God’s goodness in her life.

“It’s a testimony that God is bigger and has a plan,” Elisabeth says. “He just asks us to submit to him. I learned a lot about having to rely fully on the Lord to keep you alive every day.”

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What you can do

  • Walk, run, or roll the Global 6K for Water on May 20, 2023 — right from your own home or neighborhood — to equip one person in need with life-changing clean water. You’ll complete the Global 6K with a race bib featuring the picture of a child who will receive clean water through World Vision’s water projects.
  • Learn more about the importance of clean water and how you can be part of the movement to end the global water crisis by 2030.
  • Join us in praying that more and more communities would have clean water access, and thank God for the access to clean water gained through the Global 6K.
  • Give a monthly gift to provide clean water to communities lacking it. Your ongoing gift helps creates lasting change in a community.

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