Former mechanic chases dream, becomes doctor at 47

A former mechanic in Cleveland served as a reminder that it is never too late to follow your dreams.

Carl Allamby, 47, spent years working as a mechanic in East Cleveland, The Plain Dealer reported. By all accounts, he was talented in a garage. He started working with cars as a teen and a career developed.

He was not a stand-out student in high school, according to the report. He had less than a 2.0-grade point average and didn't go to college.

But he was a hard worker and perfected his craft with cars. He eventually bought a business and dabbled in used-cars sales. He was a mechanic for 18 years.

“He could fix the cars in his sleep,” Tawanah Key, a customer, told the paper.

The married father of two grade-school aged children started to take night classes in 2006 at Ursuline College. He was 40 and still running the business, but remembered the class that changed his life.

He was in biology-- a required course-- but said the teacher—an interventional radiologist—“lit up the room.” He knew he had to go into medicine, the paper reported.

He studied at Cleveland State University and, in 2015, aced the NEOMED exam. The report said he sold his business.

“The stakes were high, like, ‘Man I really can’t fail,” he told the paper. He later attended Northeast Ohio Medical University and aced every class, the report said.

He was recently selected for a three-year residency at Cleveland Clinic Akron General Hospital.

He said he was inspired by two black doctors who supported him along the way. He said he hopes to provide inspiration and comfort for black patients.

“There are so many times throughout the different hospitals where I will walk in and [a black patient] will say, ‘Thank God there’s finally a brother here,’” Allamby told the paper.


He has two adult children—including a son who’s a firefighter in the city and a daughter studying to be a nurse. His wife is a physical therapist. He told the paper he has a business plan.

“My son will bring in the patient, I will save their life, and my wife will rehab them, and my daughter will take care of them while they’re in the hospital. And then they’ll get a free oil change on discharge,” he joked.

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