Roseanna Sdoia was cheering on the Boston Marathon runners at the finish line on April 15, 2013 when her life changed forever.
She heard the first bomb go off. Sdoia told Fox Sports that she saw a plume of smoke drifting up which she thought pretty weird, since the best runners had finished the marathon long go. At first, she didn't realize what had actually happened.
“There was a guy to the right of me who started yelling, ‘Everybody, get in the streets, get in the streets,'” Sdoia told Fox Sports. “But the barricade they had between the street and the runners was too high, and I was not going to be able to get over it. So I turned to my right to run away, and I basically ran into the bag that had the second bomb in it. And I just recall the pop-pop at my feet and then it going black and thinking to myself, ‘This is not a good situation. This is bad.’”
Sdoia was among the more than 200 victims of the Boston Marathon bombing. She was rushed to the hospital where her right leg would eventually be amputated above the knee, but she would survive — in part thanks to a group of people who helped in the chaotic aftermath of the bombing.
There was one Boston firefighter, Mike Materia, who came to Sdoia’s rescue. With no ambulance immediately available, Sdoia found herself lying on a metal bench in the back of a police transport vehicle.
Despite her injury, Ms. Sdoia was fully alert as they drove toward the hospital. “He [Materia] was kneeling on the ground, trying to hold me from sliding, trying to hold himself, and trying to hold the tourniquet,” she said. “And then here I am, telling him to hold my hand! So the poor guy had a lot going on.”
He was there for her during recovery, too.
“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.’”
This past December, Materia proposed to her.
Without hesitation, Sdoia said yes and the two plan to marry in October or November of 2017.
"I think that he's just so kind and caring, and he just is very endearing and has been so supportive of me,'' Sdoia said."He hasn't told me that there's nothing I can do. When you have a situation as having your leg blown off a lot of things change for you personally, mentally, physically, and none of that has been an issue for him."
The couple celebrated their engagement in an amazing way, by joining hundreds of other runners for an annual event called the Empire State Building Run-Up, which benefits the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
The event at the Empire State Building was a fitting milestone in Ms. Sdoia’s own battle. Along with Firefighter Materia, the pair has been dubbed heroes in Boston, where friends and family have followed her recovery, celebrated her engagement, and supported her efforts to climb New York City’s third-highest building. The race ended at the observation deck on the 86th floor of the skyscraper.Ms. Sdoia said she was happy to have his support, which hasn’t wavered since that ride to the hospital nearly four years ago. “We’ve spent a lot of time together,’’ she said, “and from that we got to see each other’s characters and really just bond.”