How’s this for a pre-wedding workout? Roseann Sdoia and her fiancé, Mike Materia, ran up 86 flights on Wednesday night at the annual Empire State Building Run-Up, raising money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation. It’s an impressive feat on its own, made even more so by the fact that Sdoia, 48, is an amputee and Materia, 37, was decked out in his full firefighter gear. This was a mere chapter in a love story that seems ripped from a romance novel, beginning at the moment he helped save her life at the Boston Marathon bombing.
On April 15, 2013, Sdoia was watching the marathon runners on Boylston Street. The second of the two bombs went off just a few feet behind her. It destroyed her right leg, and she lay bleeding on the ground until a college student, a police officer, and a firefighter came to her rescue. The student, Shores Salter, tied his belt around her leg as a tourniquet. The officer, Shana Cottone, tried to flag down an ambulance and stayed with her, and the firefighter, Materia, helped carry her on a backboard, according to the story they later told Runner’s World. Eventually, Cottone got a prison transport vehicle to take them to Massachusetts General Hospital. Perfect Strangers, a book about this rescue and their lives afterward, is coming out in March.
Materia was the one whose hand she held all the way to the hospital, however. He visited her the next day, and then he kept visiting her. After she returned home, he helped her practice learning how to use the fire escape from her apartment.
“I have a lot of time,” Materia told her, according to Runner’s World. “So if you need rides to appointments or whatever, I can help you.”
— Lidia Curanaj (@LidiaNews) February 2, 2017
He took her to appointments to be fitted for prostheses, and over that long process, they grew closer. They went on their first date that June. “I knew I was starting to have feelings for him because he was so kind and caring,” she told the New York Post. “And he has an unbelievable smile.”
In December, they told the Post, Mike proposed on the deck of the whaling museum in Nantucket. He had their dog, Sal, wear a collar that said, “Mike wants to know … if you’ll marry him.”
They’re planning to be married in October or November.
Asked by CBS This Morning whether she would skip the marathon that day if she could go back in time, Sdoia had a surprising answer. “So much good has come out of it — obviously Mike and I, our engagement and the love that we have for each other. I survived, so I am very thankful for that. There are people that didn’t. Honestly, I would probably go again.”