Starting Wednesday, Michael Cook will begin riding a bicycle from Eureka, Kansas on his way to Yorktown, Virginia. This is the third year for the Golden Cup event, which is in partnership with Design Outreach, a Christian humanitarian engineering organization.
"We started in 2020 from Oregon, and … we're looking to transform lives in Malawi with clean water," says Cook.
This year's goal is to raise $153,000 to reach nine more communities in Malawi.
"In 2020, we had the goal of $30,000 for a couple of communities, and $66,000 was raised thanks to all the participation," Cook reports. "We reached five communities the first year, and then last year we reached seven more."
He says the pumps should be installed in those communities this year.
"I got to see firsthand how this affects people by going to Malawi in April," Cook accounts. "I got to witness a LifePump installation and watch people out there singing and dancing for hours in anticipation of this. It's very life transforming."
Creators of the LifePump say it reaches deeper and lasts longer than its competitors, enabling people to have access to reliable water at greater depths than previously possible.
Cook says seeing the joy on a person's face over something like a water pump makes one realize that Americans take water for granted.
"All we do is turn on a spigot," he says. "These families have like their 11-year-old daughters walking for hours with 40-pound jerrycans, and they're bringing back dirty water."
According to Cook, 2.2 billion people throughout the world do not have access to safe water near their homes. An average of 2,300 people die every day from water-borne illness.
"That is seven jumbo jets worth of people," he laments. "If seven jumbo jets crashed every day, all the governments would be all over solving this issue."
The distance from Eureka, Kansas to Yorktown, Virginia is 1,724 miles. Cook expects to arrive in Yorktown within the last few days of June. Meanwhile, he is grateful for the experience.
"When we go out there on these two-lane highways and meet people, I could give you story after story of inspirational, warm-hearted, and extremely generous people giving us a place to park our little wagon that my wife drives from campsite to campsite," Cook shares. "It's extremely inspiring."
The Golden Cup is a virtual fundraising effort that focuses on physical activities such as running, walking, bike riding, or even raking to raise funds for safe water. These communities would not otherwise have access to safe and reliable water. Without water, people cannot thrive, and the cycle of poverty continues.
Editor's note: Destination and distance information corrected after story was originally published.