NAMI Walk 2024

I wanted you to know that my friend Ben and I will be out walking on Saturday, May 18, at Boston Common for the 2024 NAMI Walk. This will be our 11th year participating in this incredible fundraising event.

Anything you can do to spread the word would be greatly appreciated.

Donations to this important cause are easy to make at:

At NAMIWalks, we don’t just walk the walk. We are the walk.
I am hope. I am inclusion. I am empowerment. I am compassion. I am NAMIWalks.

The annual NAMIWalks event connects our community to the life-changing mental health programs and resources that NAMI offers.

Won’t you be NAMIWalks, too, by donating generously to this effort? You can do it right here on my personal walk page.

“Mental Health for All” is the event’s rallying call, and it will take all of us to reach our goal.

Thank you!


Patricia’s New Book

My daughter Patricia Larsted published her third book on March 15, 2024. This one is called Living Through the Dark.

The back cover says:

Life is difficult when you’re a young person. Add neurodivergence, OCD, and a touch of schizoaffective disorder, and you get a cocktail of unbearableness to the point of unaliving. 14 year old Patricia Larsted tried to do just that. But life had other plans for her, including graduating college, learning to drive, and now becoming a “world famous” author. Follow Patricia as she works through the first 31 years of her life in a free form poem that has been in the works since her father, Bob, published a book about her in 2013.

It captures the essence of what she was going through as I watched her try to survive.

I’m very proud of her. It’s a great book.


NAMI Walk 2022

I will be out walking on Saturday, May 21, at Artesani Park near Boston for the 2022 NAMI Walk. This will be our 10th year participating in this incredible fundraising event.

Anything you can do to spread the word would be greatly appreciated.

Donations to this important cause are easy to make at:

We are looking forward to this live event after two years of COVID shutdowns.


NAMI Virtual Walk 2020

This is the weekend I would normally be walking with my friends from NAMI North Central Massachusetts at Artesani Park near Boston as part of our annual 2020 NAMI Walk. This whole global pandemic has put the kibosh on that idea, but the need still exists, so we will be walking virtually this year.

I’ve spent the last couple of months cooped up at home, but to keep occupied, I have participated the the Worldwide Teddy Bear Scavenger Hunt, the opportunity for all of us to distract ourselves when we are out and about, searching for teddy bears at the window.

This weekend, to celebrate the Walk, I will be seeing how many miles I can rack up with my Zoom Meeting account and other methods. I’ll let you know how it goes. To follow along, watch the comments below.

Donations to this important cause are greatly appreciated:

It’s only noon and I have already put 71 miles on my Zoom account with a meeting with my friend in Marshfield, Massachusetts.

Between my neighborhood walk and bike ride, I put in more than 3 miles. That makes 74.

And another 8 miles on the stationary bike. Up to 82.

Just had a Zoom call with my friend’s wife. That makes another 0.00757 miles. Total is now 82.00757.

9 more. Zoom call with one of my top ten favorite family members. Up to 91.00757.

Bike ride. 4 miles. 95.00757.

FaceTime call to Glendale, Arizona. (It’s hot there now.) 2,604 miles. Broke 100. Yeah! Total is 2,699.00757.

There was another person on the Glendale event, so 9 more. Sorry about that, top-ten family member. 2,708.00757.

Walk to the post office. 2,709.00757.

One last walk. Another mile. Then 11 more on the stationary bike. Grand total is 3,041.00757 miles. Thank you all for your support for this important cause. It’s not too late to make a donation.

20th Anniversary of Worcester Cold Storage Fire

The 20th anniversary of the Worcester, Massachusetts Cold Storage fire is coming up. I wrote about it in my book. Today, I live just down the street from the site of the fire. I park my car in what used to be the abandoned lot I parked in that day when I stopped by to pay my respects. I share the story here:

Worcester, Massachusetts is famous for just a few things: Triple-deckers. Robert Goddard, the father of modern rocketry. And the guy who invented the smiley face.

On December 3, 1999, Worcester became famous for a horrific building fire that killed six firefighters. It took days to put it out and recover their bodies. Our community was devastated.

When it came time for a memorial service, everyone came. Even the president. I took a couple of hours off work and walked downtown to watch the funeral procession. What struck me most were the 30,000 firefighters from around the world who came to pay their respects. Some were dressed in their best uniforms—polished buttons and crisp pleats. But most just showed up in the only thing they had—their turnout gear. The sight was incredible.

When it was over, as I walked back to work, I passed by the city’s main fire station. Hanging on a chain-link fence were several hand-drawn posters. Messages from local school children to the lost firefighters. I slowed to read them.

I was struck by one:

“May your house be safe from tigers.”

I burst into tears.

A few days later, I made my way down to the fire site. A makeshift memorial had sprung up nearby. A fire truck, parked by the side of the road, was festooned with mementos left by people coming to pay their respects. Flowers. More of those notes. Flags. T-shirts.

I collect things. I’ve been doing it for years. I call it “Real World Stuff™.” It started with sand from some of the beaches I’ve visited. It has grown into trying to collect some little something from the places I’ve been that will remind me of that special day. Some of the things are straightforward: Confetti from the millennium in Times Square. Water from The Great Salt Lake. A dining room table. Others are more esoteric: Light from a Leonid Meteor Shower. Fog from the Sargasso Sea. I keep some of the stranger stuff in little glass bottles I have for just this purpose.

As I walked up to the fire truck, I kept wondering how I could collect something that would remind me of this solemn place and time. I certainly wasn’t going to take something someone else had left—that’s not how I do it. Maybe I’d find some soot. Or maybe just a smell would be enough. As I came around the truck, in the back, amid all the flowers and the other stuff, was a baseball hat. With four letters embroidered on the front. FEMA.

It took my breath away. I burst into tears again.

I went back to my car, opened the glove compartment, took out two of my little bottles, and walked back to the fire truck. One by one, I opened each, filled it with my breath, and sealed it up again. I left one on the truck’s bumper. The other went into my pocket.

Some things are bigger than one person, or one family, or one community can handle. For Worcester, it was that fire. We needed the whole country to support us. And they came.

Mental illness, like fires, strikes at unexpected times and in unexpected places. The victims and those trying to support them aren’t always in the best position to be able to handle it themselves. And even if they don’t always know the right thing to do, sometimes, we need our government to throw its hat into the ring, too. To help us make our houses safe from tigers.

—Pages 220-221, Witness to the Dark by Bob Larsted

Much has changed in 20 years. But just as much remains the same: Mental health is still bigger than one person.


NAMI Walk 2019

I will be walking again this year with my friends from NAMI North Central at the 2019 NAMI Walk on Saturday, May 11, at Artesani Park near Boston, Massachusetts.

This is our 8th year participating in this incredible event.

Join us.

Donations to this important cause are greatly appreciated:

NAMI Walk 2017

I will be walking again this year (either virtually or in person) with my friends from NAMI North Central at the 2017 NAMI Walk on Saturday, May 13, at Artesani Park near Boston, Massachusetts. Join us.

Donations to this important cause are greatly appreciated:

NAMI Walk 2016

I will be walking again this year with my friends from NAMI North Central at the 2016 NAMI Walk on Saturday, May 14, at Artesani Park near Boston, Massachusetts. Join us.

Donations to this important cause are greatly appreciated:

Anthony Rapp is Back in Massachusetts with “Without You”

I have my ticket and I’m going back to see Anthony Rapp in “Without You.” He is doing his one-man show from September 9 to 13, 2015 at the Carling-Sorenson Theater at Babson College just outside Boston. I encourage you to go and be part of something incredible.

I went twice in 2012 when he came to Massachusetts. I wrote about it here (below). His story and his message have stuck with me ever since.

Years later, I continue my life as Mark, still trying to live, while others live and thrive around me.


Anthony Rapp in “Without You”

Posted on June 20, 2012 by bob

I went to see Anthony Rapp tonight in Boston at his one-man show, “Without You,” at the Modern Theatre at Suffolk University. It was incredible. I’m going back on Sunday to experience it again.

The timing of this is a bit serendipitous. I’ve been a huge fan of “Rent” for many years, and particularly of the character played by Mr. Rapp. There is something about Mark that reminds me of my own self and the relationship I have had with my daughter Patricia as she has struggled over the years. This week, I am finishing up my book, a memoir about those difficult times. Unlike “Rent” and AIDS, mine is about mental health, another difficult, but just as taboo subject. For some reason, “Rent” and Mark have found their way into its pages. Twice.

As I was leaving for the theater tonight, the UPS guy showed up with some new uncorrected book proofs. I thought for a second about bringing one and trying to figure out how to give it to Anthony — maybe he’d like to read it — to see how his story fits into ours. But I quickly dismissed it — he’s just an actor. He’s not Mark.

But as I sat there tonight, it occurred to me that Anthony, in telling his story, was doing the same thing that Mark had done in “Rent.” He helped us live as he watched others live. And in doing so, Mark (and Anthony) got to live, too.

Anthony was alive on stage tonight. In his music and stories, he brought with him those same feelings I’m drawn to in the “Rent” experience. Thank you, Anthony, for letting me live tonight, too.

Go. Live.