Not every day do you hear about someone becoming a doctor later in life. Some people enter the medical field immediately after graduation, while others take a more winding path. Carl Allamby, M.D., dreamed of being a physician as a child, but life circumstances got in the way. However, he never forgot his childhood dream and eventually pursued it despite the obstacles.
Growing up in East Cleveland, Ohio, Allamby felt a calling to become a doctor after high school. His family moved to a small city suburb in the 1970s with plenty of affordable housing options. Unfortunately, well-paying jobs didn’t come as easily, so Allamby’s father started working as a door-to-door salesman. His mom remained home to care for Carl and his five siblings.
Despite his parents doing their best to make ends meet, Allamby recalls numerous financial troubles throughout his childhood. They were on welfare for most of his early life and sometimes had to go without lights, gas, or water. He said that without government assistance, the family most likely would’ve gone hungry some days.
Other families in Allamby’s neighborhood experienced similar economic challenges. He said that teachers at his school tried their best to educate the children. But, since many kids lived in poverty and struggled to obtain their basic needs, learning wasn’t a priority.
In an interview with Fox News Digital, Allamby said, “From my own experience, it is very difficult to focus on your education when your mind is filled with challenges outside the walls of the school. Food insecurity, safely making it to and from school, affording decent clothing and basic school supplies or just trying to fit in took precedent over studying and getting good grades.”
The Long, Arduous Journey to Becoming a Doctor
At that point, he felt his dream of becoming an M.D. slipping away. He couldn’t focus on education and had no mentors to help guide his career path. However, he at least had a supportive family to get him through the tough times. He and his siblings had a close bond, encouraging him never to give up on his dreams.
Also, Allamby’s parents taught him the importance of a solid work ethic and believing in himself. In addition, they raised him to treat people with dignity and respect, a lesson that he would carry into adulthood.
While he longed to become a doctor, he knew earning his degree would take a while. So, in high school, he settled on a job at a local car parts store to pay the bills. He also did car repairs and maintenance to bring in extra cash. At age 19, he opened his auto repair business, Allamby’s Auto Service.
This venture kept him busy and provided a decent income but didn’t fulfill his soul as he’d hoped. Eventually, he enrolled in night school to earn a business degree while continuing to run his auto business. He hoped earning a college degree would open up more doors for him.
While attending Ursuline College in Ohio, he had to take an intro biology course. The class changed the trajectory of his college career and ultimately reminded him of his childhood dream. He said that learning about the body’s intricate design reignited his passion for becoming a doctor. So, in 2010, Allamby enrolled in Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland to take pre-med classes.
He also started shadowing and volunteering at local hospitals to get exposure to the medical field. As he gained experience, he felt reassured about his chosen path.
Allamby Proves You’re Never Too Old to Achieve Your Dreams
“Every exposure I had in medicine further solidified my choice to pursue a medical career,” Allamby told Fox News Digital.
Allamby got accepted into Cleveland State University, where he enrolled in preparatory medical school courses. He studied rigorously for more than five years while managing his business and family life.
He took the evening, weekend, and early morning classes in pre-medicine to learn everything he could about being a medical doctor. It took incredible willpower and discipline, but he knew it would pay off in the long run.
Thankfully, he had a loving family to cheer him on throughout the journey. In 2015, he finally began medical school at Northeast Ohio Medical University. He was one of the oldest people in the class, but this didn’t phase him. He felt that being older gave him an advantage because he was laser-focused on his studies.
Outside of classes, he had to balance family life as a husband and father of four children. In addition, he had to maintain his auto business and commute to school, but the tight schedule helped his time management skills. His responsibilities made him value his time in medical school and allowed him to absorb vast amounts of information quickly.
Allamby graduated from medical school at age 47 and began his residency in emergency medicine at Cleveland Clinic Akron in 2019. Finally, the moment came that he’d dreamed about since childhood. In August 2022, he landed his first job as an ER doctor at Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital.
Allamby hopes his challenging yet rewarding journey to becoming an M.D. will inspire anyone doubting themselves. He offered the following advice to those who have lofty aspirations.
“I feel we all have the opportunity to make our lives better. If you want it, go after it. Don’t give up,” he told Fox News Digital. “Plan your work and work your plan. Your sacrifices today will produce advantages for tomorrow.”
Final Thoughts on the Determined Auto Mechanic Who Became an M.D. at 51
Many people earn college degrees later in life nowadays. Whether it’s a demanding career, family, or other obligations, life sometimes gets in the way of ambitious dreams. But it’s never too late to pursue your passions, even if it takes years to accomplish your goal. Carl Allamby. M.D. proves you can achieve anything in life if you have self-confidence and treat others kindly. We wish him the best of luck in his new, hard-earned career!