Sometimes the destination is long but upon arrival, you will learn it was all just a part of the plan. And, Carl Allamby experienced this lesson firsthand.
Before Allamby stamped on the new title of “doctor,” he spent years running his auto mechanic business. Yet, the venture was not his lifelong dream, but it was more so out of “desperation and necessity,” as his family struggled to make ends meet, sometimes going without lights, gas, or water.
“We faced economic hardships throughout my upbringing and were on welfare for what seemed to be my entire childhood,” said Allamby, according to Fox News. “And if not for government handouts, we would have been without food on many occasions.”
“I remember having a desire at a young age to become a doctor — but my life circumstances led me to a much different place,” Allamby added.
His desire felt stifled due to his circumstances. Even while pursuing his education, and despite the teachers’ best efforts, his circumstances made it difficult to focus. Thus, putting a dent in the possibility of going to medical school at that time.
“The trajectory toward medicine and other white-collar careers takes a constant focus on education, exposure to the desired occupations, enhanced curricula and having representative examples to model oneself after. All these things were either non-existent or unreachable,” Allamby told Fox News. “My saving grace was our strong family structure. My siblings and I always stuck together and weathered our hardships as a team.”
Allamby’s life started to take a turn after he took a job at a local car parts store. He also still had to support himself by doing various jobs in an effort to stay afloat. He knew he wanted to create something more from his situation, which led him to take a leap of faith and open Allamby’s Auto Service at the age of 19.
The business soon became a popular spot around town, and it even presented its challenges for him since he was a small business owner. Therefore, he worked to get a business degree at Ursuline College in Pepper Pike. By this time he was 34-years-old. When he was close to completion, he had to take a biology course in order to graduate.
Little did he know, that course would serve as a pivot to turn him back to his childhood career aspirations.
“Learning about some of the incredible basic functions of the body reminded me of my childhood ambitions to become a doctor,” Allamby said, according to the outlet.
Allamby then enrolled at Cuyahoga Community College, in Cleveland, OH, to start taking pre-med classes. Simultaneously, he also started doing volunteer work at a hospital nearby, spending countless hours working in a pediatric ward before transitioning to emergency, urology, and neurology units.
“Every exposure I had in medicine further solidified my choice to pursue a medical career,” he said to FOX News.
His next steps led him to a program at Cleveland State University that ordered his steps to medical school.
“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,” Allamby notes to FOX News. “My exit from business could not be abrupt. I had too many people counting on me and too many bills to maintain.”
Finally, by 2015, Allamby’s dreams were just at the tip of his fingertips as he began his medical school journey at Northeast Ohio Medical University. By 47, he had completed his studies at the school and started his emergency medicine residency in 2019 at Cleveland Clinic Akron.
This year, Allamby finally reached the finish line and he is now working as a physician in an emergency room at Cleveland Clinic’s Hillcrest Hospital in Mayfield Heights, OH. Here, the now 51-year-old doctor works with “every area of the body and provides care ranging from birth to death.”
He finds that his experience of working with his business has helped him to lead with compassion in the practice.
“In my previous life as a master technician, I worked on almost every make and model and fixed everything from brakes to major engine and transmission rebuilds,” he told Fox News.
He added: “I had a lot of customers break down in tears or who were visibly shaken when I explained the diagnosis and eventual fate of their vehicle,” he added. “Interestingly, as I have gotten older, the human connection and thought of empathy and caring for others have been equally important.”
All in all, both of his career paths have helped him to carry out his life’s mission to better serve his community.
“Whether running an auto repair business in my former career or now providing medical care for those in need, I’ve maintained a connection with my hometown throughout my working career,” he told FOX News.