Fr. Bill Atkinson, O.S.A. Humanitarian Award

The Office of Disability Services at Villanova University has established the Father Bill Atkinson, O.S.A. Humanitarian Award to recognize an individual, group, or organization that exemplifies the spirit and service that Father Bill embodied throughout his life.  The annual award, established in 2012 in honor of the late Father Bill Atkinson, is designed to recognize an individual, group, or organization for outstanding service to their community and beyond. 

John Canuso


2013 Father Bill Atkinson, O.S.A.
Humanitarian Award Recipient

In 1974, John and Joan Canuso established the Canuso Foundation to fund pediatric cancer research and to help parents and children deal with the devasting effects of cancer and cancer treatment on their lives. The Foundation has raised over $2 million for cancer research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and has provided assistance and support to countless families and individuals affected by cancer.

The Canuso Foundation mission is to alleviate the many burdens that cancer thrusts upon families – by helping them with day-to-day necessities or long-term goals and by restoring hope for the future.

In the past, in addition to funding research, the Foundation has built Ronald McDonald Houses, provided scholarships to college students affected by cancer, and helped children and families before, during and after cancer treatment.

Babe Canuso, John's daughter who was diagonosed with leukemia when she was 9 in 1974,  was the catalyst for the world's first Ronald McDonald House. Reconstructed, decorated, furnished and stocked by the Canuso Foundation in 1974, the Philadelphia home became a symbol of hope and a safe haven for families with hospitalized children. Since then, the Foundation has been involved with the renovation or building of three additional Ronald McDonald houses in the Philadelphia region.

Since 1991, the  Foundation has awarded 61 partial scholarships for Villanova University students who have experienced hardship caused by a diagnosis of cancer. The Foundation continues to grow its annuity fund at the University through targeted fundraisers and donations.