In 2015 Nathan Whelham left his home in Seattle with his family and drove to Kalamazoo, Michigan to fulfill his dream of becoming a doctor.
Nathan Whelhman has always wanted to be a doctor but his attempts to apply to medical school at the University of Washington were unsuccessful. He got a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry and earned a master’s degree in science education.
In 1995 the man moved to Seattle and started teaching math and science. In his free time Whelham taught a first aid course at school where he worked. Some of his students were inspired by him to chose medicine as their career.
In addition to teaching, the man had a successful catering business. But his strong will to be a doctor never left him.
I realized as I was doing that that I really came alive when I was teaching about medicine
In Seattle Nathan met his wife Amy and they had their first daughter Chelsea in 1999. The family extended and has grown to five children.
In the fall of 2013 the man got strongly determined to go to medical school. He spoke with Amy who supported the decision and shared his plan with children. The united Nathan’s family members made up their minds at once.
“We were about to do something together, it was, ‘Jump and you’ll see.“ says Nathan.
Their older daughter, Chelsea, adds “I was really excited because I felt like we had all grown up in the same area for a long time with the same people and I was ready for something new too.”
I have a pioneer spirit
The family moved to Spokane, Washington where he could take his exam and Nathan started working as a volunteer firefighter and emergency medical technician. At the same time he started preparing for medical college admission test.
“I realized as I was doing that that I really came alive when I was teaching about medicine or involved in the medical aspect of things,” Whelham said.
In 2014 the future doctor took his passed his exams successfully. He began applying to medical schools and got the call from WMed in 2015.
“It was just really obvious that (WMed) was where we should go,” Whelham said. “I have a pioneer spirit and it just matched.”
Today Whelham, 47, is a third year student of medical school at WMed and is set to graduate in May 2019. The family bought a home in Portage and have settled in to the Kalamazoo area.
Medicine is where I was headed all along
Chelsea recollects that her father has always been an enthusiastic man who kept saying that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. He became a positive living example of those words which he turned into an action.
“I am so proud of my father and the work he has put in to this point in the pursuit of becoming a doctor,” the girl says.
Whelham says he never regretted he chose this step as the adventure has proven beneficial for him and his big family.
“They made a bigger sacrifice than I did, for sure … I want them to understand the world is a big place and you should pursue your dreams and you’re not limited by geography,” Whekham said.
Nathan plans to stay in Kalamazoo and pursue residency in emergency medicine. He says he has a lot of great interactions and useful contacts and enjoys his studying a lot.
“It’s a weird thing but I just feel like I’ve been training to do this for the last 20 years. This is where I was headed all along.”
In pursuit of his lifelong dream, Nathan, having an extensive family, own business and a stable career, gave up everything, moved to another state and never looked back.