At 51, a man from Cleveland realizes his dream of becoming a doctor

Carl is seated on a hospital bed and is grinning. Never give up on your dreams; the key is to never forget them.

Carl Allamby, a resident of Cleveland, traversed a circuitous path to realize his ambition of becoming a physician. Nonetheless, he was determined to make it happen. Everyone’s path to the medical field is unique, but Allamby’s was especially unconventional.

Dr. Carl Allamby smiles as he stands before a wall of photographs.

Police officers show their hilarious dance moves inside an elevator

“I remember having a desire at a young age to become a doctor,” Carl Allamby said. “But my life circumstances led me to a much different place.”

Growing up in East Cleveland, he acknowledges that life was difficult and that his family often struggled to meet fundamental needs. He even admits that without government assistance, his family would have gone hungry on numerous occasions.

However, Carl’s humble beginnings did not foreshadow his future. While he endured economic hardships, he claims that his family was always his saving grace. His parents instilled in their children a strong work ethic and constantly encouraged them to pursue their dreams.

An older photograph of Carl Allamby wearing his Allamby Auto Service uniform and smiling.

Carl said that his parents instilled in him the importance of working hard for what you want and never giving up on your dreams, regardless of how unlikely they may seem. Importantly, they taught us to treat others with fairness, dignity, and respect.

Carl’s path to medicine was indirect, but he listened to his parents and never lost sight of his goal. Instead, he merely put the matter on hold.

In high school, Carl obtained employment at a nearby auto parts store. In addition, he began performing repairs on the side, but it did not satisfy his passion for business ownership. So, at the age of 19, he opened his own auto repair shop, Allamby’s Auto Service.

It takes courage to launch a business at such a tender age. He quickly realized how rapidly a business can expand and the challenges that can arise as a result. To break up his routine, he decided to take night classes while maintaining his day job.

Dr. Carl Allamby wearing scrubs walks down a hospital corridor.

In 2006, at the age of 34, Carl enrolled at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike, Ohio. Initially, he intended to pursue a degree in business. However, a required biology course turned out to be much more than a class; it pushed him toward his childhood ambition.

“I figured, what do I need biology [class] for?” he thought. “I’m a business major.”

Police officers show their hilarious dance moves inside an elevator

However, once he entered the classroom, his attitude changed.

“It was just magnetic,” Carl said. “I think it was within the first hour of class that I said to myself, ‘Wow, this is it. I need to go into medicine.’”

Carl began pre-med courses in 2010 at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. Before enrolling at Northeast Ohio Medical University’s medical school in 2015, he became an active volunteer at local hospitals and completed hours of shadowing in the medical environment.

Carl is seated on a hospital bed and is grinning.

Police officers show their hilarious dance moves inside an elevator

“Over the course of five years or better, I attended weekend, evening, or early morning classes in pre-medicine and other college studies while managing my business, lifestyle and household in order to transition my career,” he explained.

Carl graduated from medical school at the age of 47 and began his residency in emergency medicine at The Cleveland Clinic in Akron in 2019. He never allowed his age to impair his vision. As a husband, father of four children, and business owner, he claimed to have a laser-like focus as a medical student.

This year, his dream was finally realized. He recently started his first job as an attending physician at Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, Ohio. Attending physicians are doctors who have completed their training.

The transition from longtime mechanic to physician was not an easy one, but he finds parallels between the two professions. His experiences as a business owner have taught him that “providing empathy, compassion and reassurance is often as important as providing appropriate medical care.”