Villanova University's Office of Disability Services will present the fifth annual Fr. Bill Atkinson, OSA, Humanitarian Award to a mother and daughter who survived the Boston Marathon bombing and have gone on to support others.
Celeste Corcoran was at the finish line to watch her sister complete the race when the first bomb detonated, badly wounding both her legs — which were eventually amputated — and rupturing her eardrum. Her daughter Sydney, who was also at the race, unbeknownst to her parents, nearly bled to death after shrapnel flew into her right thigh.
Both women have since gone on to help others. They have visited victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. Celeste became involved with 50 Legs, an organization which provides amputees with the care and prosthetics. Sydney is a certified barre instructor.
"The Office of Disability Services and LEVEL set out to change the way people see ability here at Villanova University and in the world," said Gregory Hannah, assistant director of the Office of Disability Services in a statement.
The Office of Disability Services and LEVEL, a student group organized to help bridge the gap between students with various abilities and disabilities, have striven to change the way people perceive ability at the school and beyond, Hannah stated.
The award is named after Atkinson, who ion 1974 became the first quadriplegic to be ordained as a priest in the history of the Catholic Church and who taught at Monsignor Bonner for almost 30 years.