Ali Hausfeld (left) finds out her “match.”

Match Day is the most anticipated day of the year for medical school students, as they learn where they will spend the next several years of their medical training.

Recently, 141 fourth-year students at Loyola’s Stritch School of Medicine received sealed envelopes containing their residency destinations. With the nervous suspense of the Oscars, students opened the envelopes to find the name of the medical institution that will become their new home. The room filled with screams, applause, and tears of joy.

But for two soon-to-be graduates, this Match Day was especially sweet.

Ali Hausfeld was in her first year of medical school at Stritch when her father and sister were killed in a plane crash as they flew to pick her up for Easter weekend. Less than three years later, Hausfeld and her boyfriend were involved in a serious car crash that left her with five broken ribs, a broken hip, and a dislocated ankle. Despite those setbacks, Hausfeld persevered—and at Match Day she was surrounded by her mother and more than 30 family members and friends when she opened her envelope. (Watch an NBC 5 video of her story.)

Sarah Bauer, another fourth-year Stritch student, was born with spina bifida and spent countless hours in doctors’ offices as a child. Although she had a milder form of the birth defect—which can leave some people paralyzed or in wheelchairs—she still underwent three surgeries while growing up, including one when she was just five weeks old. Shaped by those experiences, Bauer now wants to be a pediatrician to help other children. Read her inspirational story here in the Chicago Tribune (registration required).