About Painting it Forward
Painting it Forward is the brainchild of Chris Lategan – a craniopharyngioma brain tumour survivor. In 2014, Chris survived a close call when he underwent brain surgery performed by Dr Armin Gretchel at Tygerberg Hospital.
Dr Gretchel had to remove an egg-sized tumour that was slowly causing blindness and months of painful headaches. It would’ve certainly meant an eventual untimely death for Chris if it wasn’t removed. The surgery was a success, and a testament to the incredible medical skills that were provided by Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town.
While Chris was recovering at the hospital he was visited by Dr Jonathan Burke, his anaesthetist. During his brief chat to Dr Burke, Chris told him how thankful he was to the doctors for saving his life and wanted to know how he could repay them. Dr Burke simply replied: “Pay it forward.”
Many are familiar with this concept which challenges us to think of ideas that can change the world for the better by putting those ideas into action. Words and phrases like benevolence, philanthropy, human kindness and the collective unconscious may all spring to mind when you think of this concept.
When Chris was moved to a different room, he passed through a children’s ward on his way. “It was sad to see the terrible condition of the walls in their ward – the paint was coming off and there was no hint of bright colours or pictures to liven up the atmosphere for the children in the ward,” says Chris.
After seeing this, Chris’ big Pay It Forward idea came to him. With over ten years of experience in Set Designing in the local film industry, he started envisaging how quickly one of these wards could be enhanced if a group of artists and artisans collectively gave it a facelift. This was the start of the Painting it Forward project.
We combine Artists, Artisans and Volunteers with corporate sponsorship of paint, equipment and food to beautify the walls that need it most. Establishments of care and education to ill, injured or impaired children.