Moments of Victory® – Mike Riley Exercises His Brain by Painting

MikeRiley6 - Davis Phinney Foundation

What has your life been like since your diagnosis?

My journey started rather innocuously. After my diagnoses in 2004, I managed my symptoms with medication. As my Parkinson’s progressed, I had Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgery. Initially, my symptoms were fairly non-existent. They returned, however, requiring that I get DBS on the other side. Again all was well... for a while.

Then, my Parkinson's progressed and the non-motor symptoms I experienced demanded that I take early retirement. But I wasn't interested in slowing down. In a desire to remain creative and engaged, I took up watercolor painting. The last 18 months of painting has done so much for me. It provides me daily challenges and provides me a much needed creative outlet.

MikeRiley1 - Davis Phinney Foundation

How do you live well each day?

I live well by staying active, exercising and by exercising my brain through painting.

What do you wish you would have known when you were diagnosed that you know now about living with Parkinson's?

I've always lived by the theme that Parkinson's is not who I am, it's just something I have. That's proven to be a critical mindset to have over the past 14 years.

Mike Riley's Philosophy

What do you wish everyone living with Parkinson's knew about living well?

I wish they all knew the power of keeping active in ALL areas of your life. Finding something that challenges you creatively is just as important as remaining physically active. I'm so grateful that decided to give painting a try, and I'm amazed at how much it has added to my life. Don't be afraid to try something you've never done before. It may open up a whole new world to you when you least expect it.

If you'd like to purchase one of Mike's beautiful watercolor paintings, visit

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Each month, we spotlight someone from our Parkinson’s community who embodies living well today – what we call Moments of Victory®.

Your story, like Mike's, could be featured on our blog and Facebook page so others can learn from your experiences and victories.

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