Here’s how to live life to the fullest
By Jessica Laskey
“I’ve had a very eclectic past,” Doug Money says. “I’m not one of these people who just did one thing my whole life. If I told you all the different things I’ve done, you wouldn’t believe me.”
Money has indeed done many things in his 78 years, with stories to prove it.
Born and raised in Idaho, he’s been a competitive runner since high school and has completed eight marathons. The first winter after he and his wife moved to Alaska, a mother moose and her calf wintered in their front yard. He was a pastor for 12 years. He owned a successful contracting business. And he still runs by himself every day, even though he’s been legally blind for almost 11 years.
“Being blind is never not challenging,” Money says. “Sometimes it’s very inconvenient. But I’m glad that I’m able to do things that people don’t expect me to do. When people learn you’re blind, they lower the bar—they think you’re not smart. I’m always going to raise the bar.”
Determination is nothing new for Money. In high school, he broke a state record for the mile that stood since 1936. He took a gap year and enrolled at Northwest Nazarene College in Idaho, where he competed in sports and met his future wife.
He dropped out after two years, got married and became an apprentice plumber. When a construction downturn left him unemployed, his parents-in-law suggested a move to be near them in Alaska. Money and his wife took the “adventuresome” drive up the Alcan Highway and arrived in Glennallen, population about 400, in mid-November.
It was 30 degrees below zero and “my wife was wearing sneakers and peddle-pushers,” Money recalls. They quickly acclimated and spent three years in Alaska, welcoming their eldest daughter.
Alaska is where Money felt God’s call to the ministry. The family returned to Idaho so he could finish his studies at Northwest Nazarene and enter the pastorate. He eventually spent a few years building high-end homes in Sun Valley and became a “proficient enough carpenter” to start a contracting business when he and his family moved to Sacramento.
The Sierra Oaks resident planned to work until he was 70. But in 2009 at age 67, his sight began to fail.
“The ultimate diagnosis was that my optic nerves were dying because of lack of blood flow, but no one knows what caused it,” Money says. “The doctor told me, ‘If there’s anything you want to see, you’d better do it now.’ It was devastating.”
Money struggled the next few years. He stopped driving and working. He quit running and playing guitar. He didn’t know what to do with himself until his wife found Society for the Blind, a nonprofit that helps people who are blind or have low vision gain new skills and continue to lead independent lives.
“They probably saved my life,” says Money, who does outreach events for the organization’s Senior IMPACT Project. “They taught me how to succeed and not give up as a blind person.”
The group also helped him find his passions again. Money completed the 2017 Los Angeles Marathon with his son as his guide. He greets neighbors and their dogs on his daily solo runs. He regularly travels to LA. and Sweden to visit grandkids and back to Idaho to visit a cousin. He’s teaching her son to play guitar.
“At Senior IMPACT, our motto is ‘no limits,’” Money says. “I have taken that to heart.”
Jessica Laskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: @insidesacramento.