As Good as His Word
Submitted by Villanova
"If I can do anything for you, let me know."
Everyone says it. Most mean it. A few, like John Canuso '63 COE, change lives because of it.
In 1974, after weeks of cancer treatment, Canuso's 9-year-old daughter, Babe, was discharged from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. As Canuso shook hands with Babe's doctor, Milton Donaldson, MD, he extended an offer to help-and found himself renovating a frat house in Philadelphia into the first Ronald McDonald House.
But Canuso wanted to do more.
He and his wife, Joan, established the Canuso Foundation, which has raised more than $2 million for cancer research.
Through his trials-including Babe's death in 2005-Canuso has never forgotten his alma mater. The strong community, personal attention, and spiritual character ingrained Villanova in his heart and supported him during his darkest hours-like Babe's funeral, where he saw the Rev. Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA, STD, '58 A&S, among the priests processing to the altar.
As a sign of Canuso's affection for Villanova, the Foundation created the Babe Canuso Fischer Endowed Scholarship, awarded to Villanova students who have experienced financial hardship caused by illness. In addition, Babe's Kids, a division of the Foundation, has partnered with Villanova's Office of Disability Services on various initiatives.
Canuso also holds Villanova dear because, in his sophomore year, Joan took him up on an offer, and the two were married at St. Thomas of Villanova Church.
"Joan is my partner and soul mate. Whatever we do, we do together."