True love at a KU basketball watch party

Posted on Mar 22, 2013 in Alumni News, News, and Sports

Matt Dandurand says it’s pretty much a miracle that he met his wife, Kristen, 1,500 miles away from their home state of Kansas in Los Angeles, a little city of 12 million people.

Thank goodness for Kansas basketball.

Kristen Bloom, c’01, PharmD’08, a self-professed KU basketball addict, grew up watching every game and driving back and forth from Wichita to Allen Fieldhouse. She even used to memorize the height, weight and numbers of all the players and collected their basketball cards and posters.

Kristen was completing her final month of rotations for KU School of Pharmacy in 2008, and she was in Los Angeles for four weeks for an externship. She contacted the Los Angeles alumni chapter’s president, Maria Skeels, c’97, g’01, to find out where she could watch KU’s Final Four game with fellow Jayhawks.

The watch site for Jayhawks was El Guapo (now called The Parlor). The place was packed because UCLA played Memphis before the KU vs. North Carolina game. Kristen asked a group if she could share their table, and she ended up sitting next to Matt.

Matt actually didn’t attend KU. In fact, he says he’s the black sheep of his family because of it. His father and younger brother both hold pharmacy degrees from KU; his sister and brother-in-law both earned law degrees from KU; and his mother attended classes for a few years.

Matt moved to L.A. with a friend who graduated from KU and has met many other Jayhawks while attending watch parties at El Guapo and The Parlor. “I more or less feel like an honorary alumnus because it’s in my blood and half my friends out here went to KU,” he says.

Fate intervenes
Bloom-Dandurand wedding photoKristen struck up a conversation with Matt and quickly discovered a connection: she had grown up visiting Dandurand Drug Store in Wichita, which is owned by Matt’s father.

They didn’t talk much during the game, but after it was over and everyone was celebrating, he asked for her phone number. Later, he called to ask if he could take her to the watch party for the championship game against Memphis. “I had a great time and figured he was some sort of good luck charm,” Kristen says.

Kristen and Matt spent time together through the end of April. On the last day of her externship, Kristen was offered a job at the hospital in L.A. She had already accepted another position back home in Wichita, and although she likes to say she didn’t make the decision to move to L.A. based on Matt, she now realizes that he probably tipped the scales in favor of L.A.

After two months of discussing her options with friends and family, Kristen took the job in Los Angeles.

Kristen and Matt have been married for 18 months, and they have a baby Jayhawk on the way. They still attend as many alumni gatherings as possible and can’t wait to attend a game in Allen Fieldhouse together.

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