Jon Campisi Apr. 16, 2013, 7:14am

The commonwealth’s trial lawyers’ association at the end of this month will be awarding

a charitable organization for its work in community service.

The Philadelphia-based Pennsylvania Association for Justice will be handing out the award to Pittsburgh trial lawyer Paul Lagnese, who will accept the award on behalf of The Muriel’s Breath of Life Foundation.

The foundation, which was established by Lagnese and his family, provides financial assistance grants to patients undergoing treatment at the Antonio J. & Janet Palumbo Cystic Fibrosis Center-Adult Program, which is affiliated with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.

Lagnese will accept the award on April 24 during the quarterly meeting of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, which will take place at The Westin Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh.

“We are proud to honor the Muriel’s Breath of Life Foundation for the vital assistance it provides to adults and children needing treatment for Cystic Fibrosis, and their families, in Western Pennsylvania,” PAJ President Scott B. Cooper said in a statement.

Carol Ashby, senior major gift officer with the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh Foundation, said in her own statement that thanks to the “phenomenal generosity” of Muriel’s Breath of Life, more than 400 grants have been given to families of children and adults suffering from Cystic Fibrosis.

“The foundation has had an immediate and profound impact,” Ashby stated.

The foundation was created in honor of Muriel Lagnese, Paul Lagnese’s sister-in-law, who was first diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis in her early 40s.

The rare genetic disease, which affects the respiratory system, is typically identified during childhood.

Muriel Lagnese lived with Cystic Fibrosis for six years until she succumbed to the disease in 2009.

The organization has donated $85,000 to the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh since 2010, according to the PAJ.

Grant money helps patients and their families with medication, equipment, transportation, hospital living expenses and household expenses.

“The financial barrier could be the cost of a tank of gas or an unpaid bill,” lawyer Paul Lagnese said in a statement.

Lagnese is a partner with the Pittsburgh firm Berger & Lagnese LLC.

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