Change Makers

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

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.

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 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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