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Participant Information

Celeste Balch Dillon


Some say people with Parkinson's disease are compulsive. I guess when it comes to painting, I am. One evening my husband said goodnight and went to bed. In the morning he found me still at it.

I have always enjoyed drawing (a friend of mine has a drawing I did of her in 5th grade), but never took the time out from working or raising kids to really devote much time to it.

Parkinson's has changed that. I move in the slow lane now. I have time to "smell the flowers."
Painting portraits is my passion and I believe a person needs to have something that gives them joy. When I finish a portrait and the person likes it, I get a sense of real pleasure. Most times I give my paintings away, but last year I donated a portrait to the Parkinson's Auction Luncheon Fashion Show. It brought in $150 so this year I am going to do the same.

My philosophy of life as I see it is "there is good and bad about almost everything." The bad right now is that I have Parkinson's. The good is that I have met the nicest people because of having it and with the help of the Deep Brain Stimulator I can paint. The tremor in my leg has been under control and with medication I can function pretty well. I know the disease is still progressing but I am optimistic about the future.

Being able to paint has given me a new lease on life. When I am painting I am in another world. The only thing I have to watch is that I don't get so engrossed I forget to take my medications.
My children, who are adults now, often come back to the "art" room (guest bedroom/computer room) to see what new painting mom is working on.

I feel a sense of pride that they would want to show their friends. My grandchildren enjoy my art also, wanting me to draw them as a Jedi or some such thing. Speaking of grandchildren, they also are my passion and when they are around, which is not often enough (they live out of town) just like when I am painting, my aches and pains from this disease are less.