On April 15, 2013, Roseann Sdoia was standing near the finish line of the Boston Marathon when two homemade bombs detonated, resulting in the loss of her leg.
Nearby, a fireman named Mike Materia rushed into action looking to help those injured by the bombs when he came across Sdoia. The situation was bleak: Sdoia, a long-distance runner herself, was directly impacted by the blast and subsequently rushed to a local hospital. The fireman gripped her hand as she was transported for medical care, refusing to leave her side.
Love didn’t happen immediately. Sdoia had her right leg amputated and was moving on mentally from the harrowing experience. Materia would frequently visit the hospital to console her in the recovery process.
Sdoia’s mother, though, couldn’t help but notice the dashing fireman who would stop by and bring happiness to her daughter. “In the hospital, my mom tried to set me up with him,” Sdoia told the New York Post in an emotional, new interview on Wednesday, February 1. “She was like, ‘Oh, did you see that firefighter? He’s so cute.’ And I was like, ‘Mom, I just got blown up.’”
Looking back, Materia was there for her from the onset of tragedy. “He’s seen me on my worst day,” she expressed. En route to the hospital, Sdoia even asked Materia if she was going to die.
“He told me that I was going to be okay, that I only had a flesh wound,” she told the paper. “I was probably not the nicest to him from the get-go. I was in pain. But now, we laugh and blame it on the morphine.”
As Sdoia continued to recover, she developed feelings for her loyal new friend. “He was so kind and caring,” she mused. “And he has an unbelievable smile.”
Two months later, the duo went on their first date. The following month, they spent Fourth of July in Nantucket, and just last month, Materia proposed at the Nantucket Whaling Museum. The firefighter enlisted the help of the couple’s beloved pup, Sal, for the sweet surprise. The dog wore a customized tag that read, “Mike wants to know… If you’ll marry him.”
“Sal means so much to both of us. It couldn’t have been more romantic,” Sdoia recalled.
The two are planning a small wedding later this year. “I do feel that, in a sense, some things happen for a reason,” Sdoia concluded.
On the evening of February 1, Sdoia and Materia will take part in the Empire State Building Run-Up, where they will dash up 1,576 stairs to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Sdoia is also releasing a book on March 28 entitled, Perfect Strangers: Friendship, Strength, and Recovery After Boston’s Worst Day.