Kidney foundation adds lawyer

Local attorney, who donated organ to son, joins national board

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A Pittsburgh lawyer who sought help from the National Kidney Foundation's Pittsburgh chapter three decades ago when his son was diagnosed with kidney disease -- and who later donated one of his own kidneys to his son -- has been elected to the board of the National Kidney Foundation.

P. Brennan Hart, 64, said being named to the foundation's national board came as a "very pleasant surprise" even though he has been an active volunteer and past board chairman for the local chapter.

Mr. Hart, a resident of Fox Chapel, is a partner at Downtown firm Pietragallo Gordon Alfano Bosick & Raspanti, where he co-chairs the professional liability practice and litigation practice groups.

When his son Chris was about 2 years old, doctors said he would eventually need a kidney transplant. Mr. Hart and his wife approached the Pittsburgh chapter of the foundation, which helped them research treatment options. That eventually led them to the Cleveland Clinic where Chris received experimental medication that helped extend his kidney function for 10 years, his father said.

When Chris needed a transplant at age 12, his father donated a kidney for the procedure, which was done at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Chris Hart, now 30, is an attorney who works for PNC Wealth Management.

The national foundation, based in New York City, is in the midst of an awareness campaign that targets wider use of screening and education to prevent kidney disease.

"For a long time, the foundation was focused on helping people who had kidney problems and who were candidates for dialysis or transplants," said Mr. Hart. "More recently, they've focused on prevention.

"If you can bring to somebody's attention that a simple blood test during an annual physical or having your blood pressure checked regularly ... especially if there is any [history] of kidney disease in the family, it can help them avoid the need for dialysis or a transplant down the road."

On Sunday, Mr. Hart and members of his family will participate in the foundation's annual Kidney Walk at the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium. The goal this year is to raise $80,000 to benefit foundation programs, including patient screenings and education.

Joyce Gannon: or 412-263-1580.

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