In 2013 45-year-old Roseann Sdoia was living in Boston. She had an apartment and worked at a real-estate company where she was the vice president. She was also a keen runner.
Sdoia grew up watching the Boston Marathon with her father, and her passion for running continued into adulthood. Indeed, she still kept up the tradition of going to watch the marathon with friends when she was in her 40s.
In 2013 one of Sdoia’s friends was participating in the race, so she and another pal headed down to cheer her on. They positioned themselves near the finishing line. And that’s when Sdoia heard the first bang.
She saw smoke, and the people around her began to shout and run. She too began to run. But Sdoia soon realized that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time that day.
Sdoia had escaped the first bomb, but she then ran straight into the backpack which contained the second bomb. She heard it go off and things went black. She had become one of the 200 people injured in the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013
Her right leg had been terribly injured in the blast, and as a result, after she had been rushed to hospital, much of her leg had to be amputated. April 15, 2013, was the day that everything changed for Roseann Sdoia.
A college student, Shores Salter, was the first on the scene to help Sdoia; Salter was then followed by a police officer, Shana Cottone. Together, they tried to stop her bleeding by tying a belt tightly around her leg.
And then a third person came to her rescue too: Boston firefighter Mike Materia. The 37-year-old would accompany Sdoia to hospital, holding her hand on the way there.
It was then that Sdoia asked the firefighter if she was going to survive her injuries. He reassured her, saying that she only had a flesh wound, according to a January 2017 report in the New York Post.
Materia went back to work all night long, investigating other suspected bomb threats. However, as revealed in a Runner’s World article in May 2014, he just couldn’t stop thinking about “the lady with the weird last name.”
So it’s perhaps unsurprising that during Sdoia’s stay in hospital, she had a frequent visitor in the shape of Materia. And over the next few weeks, the two gradually got to know each other pretty well.
Indeed, on June 2013 – just two months after the bombing – Sdoia and Materia had their first official date. And since then they haven’t looked back. What’s more, the pair recently revealed some very exciting news…
You guessed it: they’re getting married. After them being thrown together in such horrible circumstances, Sdoia and Materia’s relationship grew ever stronger, and in January 2017 he popped the big question.
In fact, Sdoia’s mom had encouraged the relationship from the beginning. She had thought Materia was “cute” when he visited her daughter in hospital, and she had then tried to set her up with the handsome firefighter.
Their love story lives on nearly four years after the terrible tragedy of the Boston bombing. In fact, romantic Materia enlisted the help of the couple’s dog, Sal, for the all important marriage proposal on a lookout deck in Nantucket, Massachusetts.
Their dog was wearing a custom-made dog tag which read, “Mike wants to know… if you’ll marry him.” And, of course, Sdoia said yes. “It couldn’t have been more romantic,” she told the New York Post in January 2017.
The bride and groom plan to marry at a small wedding ceremony in late 2017. All despite the fact that Sdoia admits not being very nice to Materia initially, something the couple now blame on the obvious discomfort she was in combined all the painkillers she was taking.
Aside from getting engaged, Sdoia has been working hard to raise funds for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. On February 1, 2017, she completed the Empire State Building Run-Up, a grueling race which sees competitors run up all 86 floors of the iconic New York skyscraper. It was an impressive feat, especially given that Sdoia now has a prosthetic leg.
Meanwhile, Sdoia’s experience of the Boston bombing also inspired her to write a book called Perfect Strangers. It explores the way unexpected and beautiful relationships can come out of events as awful as the Boston bombing.
In 2016 Sdoia showed incredible bravery by heading down to join the crowds in supporting runners near the marathon finish line – the scene of the explosion which changed her life forever. However, it was thanks to that moment of horror that she met the love of her life.