Health Team

Men find emotional support on hospital bathroom's dry erase board

Posted February 23, 2012

When UNC designed the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, they included dry erase boards in a few restrooms.

— When UNC designed the North Carolina Cancer Hospital, they built it with patients in mind and included dry erase boards in a few restrooms. Nothing much appeared on the boards for the first year, but that eventually changed.

Cancer clinic nurse John Collier says the board in one restroom began with one note: “Please pray for my wife Charlotte."

“And then (there were) more and more messages, not just about Charlotte,” Collier said.

Men dealing with the stress of cancer were reaching out to other men with “some of their emotional needs, their spiritual needs or just supporting other guys,” he said.

Collier told hospital Chaplain Patricia Cadle about the phenomena, and the sight came as a surprise.

“It's unusual to see men doing that,” she said. “It's really inspirational.”

"Pray for my son," "expect a miracle" and "please don't give up" were all posted on the board. People of all walks and faiths go there for healing.

Men find support on hospital bathroom's dry erase board Men find support on hospital bathroom's dry erase board

“But they don't leave their spirit and their emotions at the door,” Cadle said. “And it can be a powerful way of dealing with their diagnosis and their treatments.”

Collier says he thinks it shows that men “do need to communicate, and they will reach out and maybe we need to really pay attention to the guys.”


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  • taylorrichardson62097 Mar 1, 2012

    Are you referring to that you don't know why people still believe in Jesus , if they become ill ?

  • JustOneGodLessThanU Feb 29, 2012

    WRAL, you opened the door to religious comments with your pictures and video of Jesus comments. It’s relevant.

    Many of the bathroom comments are religious in nature. But, I've never understood why sick people continue to honor the being who they believe made them sick.

    It's similar to an abused wife returning from the hospital to go back to her abuser. This guy has the power to stop the damage...he doesn't stop...she loves the guy anyway. IMO, that does not seem healthy.

  • North Carolina Cutie Feb 29, 2012

    Men do have feelings when you find a guy that will show his emotions that's a real man.

  • LordHelpUsAll Feb 29, 2012

    If it helps the guys, make the whole wall a white board, all the walls! In the ladies room too. Better yet, in the chapel area put up boards. People need to release their emotions, this is a great way to do that.

  • Carrboro-resident Feb 27, 2012

    I love this idea!

  • moppie Feb 27, 2012

    Unbeknownst to any of us, my father started writing in a journal when my mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Being the proverbial "tough guy", I think it was a way for him to let emotions out without breaking down in front of us or Mama. We found it last year after he passed away from throat and lung cancer. What a powerful testimony to his love for my mother and eventually his own battle with cancer it was. An amazing legacy for his family.

  • m121755 Feb 27, 2012

    It is a shame that we program males to "be tough" and not to express their emotions. That leaves them to deal with a lot of feelings alone. Same way that we teach little girls that you will meet prince charming and live happily ever after, these ideas are not preparing them for what reality will bring. We need to let them feel success and failure both to prepare for the ups and downs that life will bring them and learn how to express and cope with reality.

  • Offshore Feb 27, 2012

    Nice story, other hospitals should follow this lead as well as other news stories.

  • youpeoplearesoentertaining Feb 24, 2012

    glad to see this story...
    I've never really understood why men find it hard to express their emotions.... I wish they could/would. I think it would help bridge the gap in so many relationships.

  • Pepe Silvia Feb 24, 2012

    "Crying doesn't indicate that you're weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you're alive." --Unknown