A horrific terrorist attack is the last place you’d expect a budding romance to begin, but that is the case with Boston Marathon survivor Roseann Sdoia, 48, and Mike Materia, 37, the dashing young firefighter who rescued her.
Sdoia — who lost her leg in the blast — and Materia plan to marry later this year.
According to the New York Post, Sdoia was watching the parade near the finish line on that fateful April day in 2013 when one of the pressure-cooker bombs went off. Exploding shrapnel hit her in the leg, grievously wounding her. Materia rushed to her aid and comforted her during the ride to Massachusetts General Hospital in a police vehicle.
“I asked him if I was going to die. And he told me that I was going to be OK, that I only had a flesh wound,” she recalled.
Materia visited a couple days later and made a great impression on her mother while Sdoia was recovering in intensive care.
“In the hospital, my mom tried to set me up with him,” Sdoia said.
“She was like, ‘Oh, did you see that firefighter? He’s so cute.’ And I was like, ‘Mom, I just got blown up.’”
Early on in the relationship, Sdoia admits she was (understandably) a bit grumpy. “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,” she said. “He’s seen me on my worst day.”
As weeks passed, the pair struck up a friendship. Materia helped her track down a prosthetist and get back on her feet emotionally and physically, she said.
“I knew I was starting to have feelings for him because he was so kind and caring,” she said. “And he has an unbelievable smile.”
The lovebirds went on their first date in June 2013. A month later, they spent the Fourth of July on Nantucket. Last month, he proposed on a lookout deck at the island’s whaling museum with the help of their pooch, Sal.
The dog was wearing a special engraved dog tag that read, “Mike wants to know . . . If you’ll marry him.”
“Sal means so much to both of us,” she said. “It couldn’t have been more romantic.”
The couple now plans to have a small wedding in October or November.
“I do feel that, in a sense, some things happen for a reason,” Sdoia said.
Materia and Sdoia, who is a long distance runner herself, will participate in the annual race up the 1,576 stairs in the “Empire State Building Run-Up” which benefits charity.
The couple plans to release a book called “Perfect Strangers” in March, describing how four lives intersected as a result of the bombing.