The Love of Friendships: From Freshman Year Roommates to Best Mom Friends


Courtesy of Addie Brevde

Mary Saladino and Addie Brevde have remained best friends since their freshman year at Villanova.

Sarah Wisniewski, Co-News Editor

As the world fills up with hues of pinks and reds, people prepare for expressions of love surrounding Valentine’s Day. 

It is important to remember that love is not restricted to a romantic relationship. The strongest examples of love are often not through romantic partners. 

The strength of love and friendships can be seen through Villanova alumni Mary Saladino and Addie Brevde. 

Saladino and Brevde met in their freshman year in the halls of Good Counsel. Brevde remembered the confident and assertive personality of Saladino. 

Instead of the normal mumble of an awkward hello between freshmen, Saladino introduced herself to Brevde by saying, “I think we’re going to be best friends.” She then proceeded to ask Brevde when she could borrow her clothes. 

The unconventional exchange was the start to a now life-long friendship, surviving the beautiful mess of life and inevitable miles between college friends. 

The love within this friendship has been seen through life’s challenges. Unfortunately, Saladino has endured a major life struggle with her son Henry. When he was just 18 months old, Henry was diagnosed with a one in a million, severe neurological disorder known as Alternating Hemiplegia of Childhood, or AHC. 

Supporters are now rushing to raise more than $3 million to develop a treatment for Henry. 

With such a paramount task, Brevde stepped in to support her friend. With experience in social media, Brevde pitched the idea of an Instagram page, where Saladino could share her experience of being a mother to a child with a rare disease. The Instagram account serves as a method to spread awareness, gain attention for the cause and comfort other parents going through similar struggles. 

Brevde knew this would not be an easy decision for her friend, knowing the privacy her best friend cherished and the fear of sharing intimate details of a personal struggle. 

“I do the tactile things of creating the account and making Instagram reels, but I also want to be there as an emotional support,” Brevde said. “I knew Mary needed comfort and to know it’s okay to be super vulnerable.” 

The love Brevde has for Saladino is inarguable in her commitment to be her friend’s cheerleader through this journey. 

“I am a mother, wife, employee and entrepreneur, but all I know is that day to day one of my most important roles is to be [Mary’s] friend,” Brevde said. “If anything happened in my life, I know Mary would be at my side too.”   

Brevde explained that she sees Henry as her own son and therefore her involvement in fundraising and supporting her friend is just natural. 

If further evidence was needed to show the love between the two, after college, the friends were never living in the same city. Brevde explained that the physical miles between them could have easily resulted in their friendship dissolving, but their bond was far too strong for that to occur.

The friends prioritized visiting one another and staying in touch as best they could. Today, that effort has built the support system between the two and an example for college students to stick to the bonds they create on campus. 

Brevde offered the advice to always cheer on friends and root for their success, happiness and confidence. 

“Friendships will ebb and flow post college, but do not put so much pressure on yourself,” Brevde advised. “Life will surprise you and keep you close to who you need to stay close to. Mary and I’s friendship could have fizzled, but I believe we stayed friends for a reason. That reason is for me to be her cheerleader through all of this.”

The Instagram handle is 

@ForHenryAHC and the Instagram contains a link in the bio for donations to be made. The treatment for Henry will be able to also help other children suffering from rare diseases and their families.