Dr. Carl Allamby was an auto mechanic when he decided to go to medical school at age 40 to become a doctor. After graduating several years later at age 47, he will complete his medical residency at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital this weekend.
Allamby sat down with Sounds of Ideas host Rick Jackson and discussed his experience growing up in East Cleveland and owning his own auto body business.
“I started the business out of lack of opportunities in my neighborhood,” Allamby said during the interview on Thursday.
He recalled his business being an instant success after moving to South Euclid with more than 3,000 regular customers.
“It really went well,” Allamby said. However, he recalled wanting more in his life while looking into other career options.
Allamby decided to go back to school, and it wasn’t until after taking a biology class that he wanted to pursue a medical degree.
“When I took that class, I fell in love with medicine,” he said. “This harkened back to when I was a child and watched programs like St. Elsewhere. I really wanted to go into medicine, and that biology class really propelled me to go back to college.”
While becoming a physician is something Allamby wanted to do in the next chapter of his life, he described how he would break the news to his wife.
“I had to get this past, my wife,” he explained. “My wife has been my greatest supporter through all of this… with kids and studies. I love her to death.”
Allamby’s inspiring story garnered national media coverage from news outlets to radio shows, including his interview with NPR in 2019.
In addition, there’s talk of a television series possibly in the works based on his life. People have also contacted Allamby through social media after hearing about his journey.
“It’s meant a lot to hear from people,” he said.
Allamby said he hopes his story shows “that no matter where you’ve grown up or where you’re from, you don’t have as many limitations as you think you do.”
“I think it’s important for people to see representation when they show up to the place that’s supposed to provide you care,” he added. “You’re going to take advice from people who look like you.”