Childhood of Desmond Croker
Desmond Olsen Croker was born on September 16, 1979, in Georgetown, Guyana, to Desmond and Annie Croker. Raised in a small housing community in Georgetown, he is the eldest of three brothers and one sister. Growing up in a one-parent household with financial challenges, Desmond and his siblings faced a tough upbringing. His father, a soldier, was often away, and his mother, a domestic worker, struggled to maintain stable employment due to health issues.
Desmond attended Southern Elementary School and South Georgetown Secondary School. There was a period when Desmond, his mother, and siblings had to relocate to Essequibo for a year. Despite excelling academically, financial constraints led Desmond to leave school at the age of 14. He began working as a groundsman at a private hospital in Georgetown, foregoing his desire to complete high school.
Despite the strict upbringing that limited social interactions with neighbors, Desmond and his siblings developed a strong bond that persists even though they are now living overseas. They make a conscious effort to meet monthly, demonstrating their close-knit relationship. Desmond, who has been married three times, has a daughter from his first marriage.
Desmond’s professional journey began as a dropout working at the same hospital where he started as a groundsman. He took on various jobs, including working as a printer. Five years after leaving the hospital, his sister encouraged him to take the entrance test for a Nurse Aide Program. To his surprise, his previous application was still valid, leading him to make the life-changing decision to pursue nursing despite the significant pay cut. At the printery he was making about $3500 fortnight, that was $7000,- a month. If he decided to start the Nursery training, he would get a stipend of $1200 per month. After considerations he made his decision and started with the training. He and his sister successfully completed the training and started working as Nursing Assistants at the hospital. They spent three years there. His mother always instilled the value of education, so one day he was approached by a nurse if he wanted to do nursing
During nursing school, Desmond had to work security at night to support his family. Balancing his studies, personal life, and a one-income household proved challenging. After initially failing the final exam, he took a break from his marriage to focus on completing the nursing program, eventually succeeding in his second attempt. Desmond then worked as a nurse in various departments at Georgetown Hospital for five years while pursuing his bachelor’s degree in nursing, the first of its kind at the University of Guyana.
After completing his degree, Desmond became a nursing lecturer at the Georgetown School of Nursing. A chance opportunity in Jamaica prompted him to move there, where he worked at a community college and completed his Diabetes Educator education. His time in Jamaica was marked by personal loss, as his Mother passed away from diabetic problems. After spending 2 years in Kingston, Jamaica, Desmond applied in Trinidad and got his registration. He wanted to be close to his daughter, since it was a 1 hour flight to Guyana. Desmond worked at the nursing college in Trinidad for 5 years.
Desmond later moved to Trinidad, where he worked at a nursing college for five years. In 2008, an opportunity arose for him to undergo Diabetes Education training, where he finally got the chance to learn more about what happened with his mother. Even Though he had over 10 years experience as a nurse, a lot of things he learned in the training were new to him. That is when and where he found his passion and decided to do this for the rest of his year. During training for chronic diseases, he developed a successful Diabetes Self-Management Education program.
From a young age, he and his siblings were aware of their mother’s frail health, witnessing her resilient recoveries after each setback. However, a tragic day arrived when she succumbed to her condition, leaving an indelible impact on Desmond. Eager to honor his mother’s memory, he channeled his passion for Diabetes Education into a meaningful initiative.
This vision led to the establishment of AMCEC (Annie’s Memorial Education Centre) in Trinidad. Originally named in memory of his mother, the business faced challenges securing its domain name. Consequently, it evolved into Annie’s Chronic Diseases and Education Centre, abbreviated as AMCEC. Today, it operates under the official name AMCEC Health.
AMCEC Health’s mission is to empower individuals to take proactive steps towards fostering their own health. Desmond recognizes the pressing health challenges faced by the Caribbean community, ranking second globally in chronic disease prevalence. Particularly, the region holds the unfortunate distinction of leading the world in health expenditure for diabetes.
Growth through experience
AMCEC faces the difficulty of starting conversations regarding diabetes education. Typically, individuals only engage in dialogue when complications have already arisen, and it is often too late. However, once people engage with and undergo diabetes education, their gratitude and enthusiasm become evident, yet usually after experiencing the effects. Another hurdle lies in reaching and connecting with the target audience—those in genuine need of these services and willing to invest in them.
Over the years, Desmond has steadily gained recognition as the go-to person on diabetes. The challenge lies in persuading individuals to invest in the valuable offerings provided by AMCEC, as their initial expectations tend to be shallow.
Closing Remarks from Desmond
Know why you do what you do. You have to have the goal in mind that will propel you forward in spite of all the challenges. Search for the greater and sustainable impact you can and will create with all you do. In order to achieve your goal it requires overcoming obstacles. But it is about being persistent and persistent in whatever you set yourself to do.
To fellow entrepreneurs… it will be a tough challenge, but seek counsel wherever you can get it, seek for collaboration from businesses that can benefit yours.
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