From Fighting to Flying: Brian Proves that Anything is Possible.

In September 2016, Brian Martin had given up hope. For two years, he had lived with the knowledge that his lifelong liver disease had finally caused his liver to fail, an organ transplant was his only hope of surviving to see his two kids grow into adults.

“I was so sick for so long and ultimately reduced to a life on the couch,” he said. “I watched my kids growing up as if I were looking through a window. All my focus and energy went to surviving another day. I prayed for that phone to ring all day long.”

On one particularly dark day, Martin called his pastor for support and encouragement.

A few hours later, the phone rang with the news: Martin’s care team at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center had found a match, and he would receive a second chance at life after all under the capable hands of Shimul A. Shah, MD, Flavio Paterno, MD, and Tayyab Diwan, MD.

When Martin woke up in the hospital after his surgery, he was so grateful for the second chance that he decided to make the most of it: he would train to run Cincinnati’s Flying Pig Marathon in just seven months.

“I felt so grateful immediately after surgery for my new gift. I wanted to show people waiting that there was hope and that nothing was impossible,” he said.

With members of his medical care team by his side, Martin completed the Flying Pig 10K in May 2017.

“At UC Health, the doctors and nurses successfully treat my health issues – but more importantly, they treat me,” he said. “To have the doctors and nurses take such an interest in you as a person and in your life and health is humbling. I feel like the UC staff are an extension of my family.”

Today, Martin has returned to work full-time at the construction business he owns. He visits the gym regularly, attends his kids’ activities, and plans vacations with his wife.

“Even when I am having a ‘not so good day,’ I am so grateful for my second chance,” Martin said. “I want everyone who is waiting for a transplant to keep the faith, and I hope in some small way seeing people like me getting stronger and getting back to living gives them the hope that they need to stay strong another day.”

Martin has also become an outspoken advocate for organ donation.

“Without the miracle of someone saying YES, there would be no organ donation,” he said. “I pray for the family of my donor and hope I can honor their gift.”


Now We Join in Celebration

As we celebrate 50 years of providing excellence in transplantation, breakthrough treatments and compassionate coordination of care to the region, we invite you to join us in a 50-day countdown to the anniversary of the first surgery that launched Cincinnati’s most comprehensive transplant program.

Celebrate with us by sharing our stories of transplantation with your social media network using #UCHealthTransplant via FacebookTwitter or Instagram!

For more information about UC Health transplant services, please visit