Roseann Sdoia was watching the race at the finish line on April 15, 2013 when two homemade bombs detonated and she was hit by shrapnel. Firefighter Mike Materia comforted Sdoia and went with her to hospital.
A few days later, Materia went to visit Sdoia, who was in intensive care. Even as her daughter lay injured in hospital, Sdoia’s mother couldn’t help but play matchmaker.
“In the hospital, my mom tried to set me up with him,” Sdoia told the New York Post.
“She was like, ‘Oh, did you see that firefighter? He’s so cute.’ And I was like, ‘Mom, I just got blown up.'”
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Sdoia testified in 2015 at the trial of bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev that she saw two flashes of white light at her feet near the finish line. When she looked down, she saw her foot dangling from her mangled leg.
“It was almost like I was starring in a horror movie, as everybody else was around me,” she told the court.
Three people died in the blasts. At the conclusion of the trial, Tsarnaev was handed the death sentence.
Sdoia continues to heal. Her right leg was amputated above the knee, burns cover parts of her body, and she has undergone multiple surgeries over the years.
But from tragedy, came love: Sdoia and Materia began dating a few months after they met amidst chaos, and got engaged in December 2016.
“He’s seen me on my worst day,” Sdoia said. “I do feel that, in a sense, some things happen for a reason.”
They’re planning a wedding for sometime this year.
— With files from the Associated Press