In 2012, Melissa Dohme was just 20 years old when she almost lost her life as a result of domestic abuse. Her then-boyfriend, 22, attacked her, stabbing her 32 times and leaving her to die.
Miraculously and by the grace of God, Melissa survived the brutal attack. EMTs in Clearwater, Florida arrived to help. One of them was a firefighter and paramedic by the name of Cameron Hill.
After the attack and still recovering from her physical wounds, Melissa attended a local church event and actually met Cameron there. The two hit it off from their first meeting, eventually falling in love by 2013.
As they began to start their relationship, Melissa was still on the long road to physical and mental recovery. She was missing teeth, suffered from deep cuts and scarring, and had one eye that would not shut. She had to undergo a variety of surgeries to help reconstruct her face and body as a result of the attack she endured.
”I had implants in my teeth and my scars slowly faded. I had nerve and muscle surgery in Boston, which helped regenerate my face and give me my smile back. I was keen to get back to school and work as soon as I could”, she explained.
Today, Melissa appears to be feeling better than she has in a long time! Now an advocate working against domestic violence, she often updates the public on her personal journey using Facebook. Since her traumatic experience, she has finished college and become a nurse.
Speaking out and meeting other survivors has strengthened her and showed her she is not alone!
Her ex-boyfriend, Robert Lee Burton Jr., saw justice when a judge sentenced him to life in prison after a jury convicted him.
”Before the attack I was a college student working full-time in the reception of a local hospital. My dream was to become a nurse. I was dating Robert Burton, who I had met in high school. We hung out all the time, texting and talking. He was very charming and funny and kind of like a gentle giant,” Melissa told BBC in 2017 and continued:
”I noticed his behaviour changed, though, when I started applying to universities. He became very jealous. He would belittle me and not want me to succeed. He would lie about things and if I confronted him he had an explosive temper.”
Cameron sat by Melissa’s side in August 2013 when she went to court to face the man who tried to kill her.
Melissa demonstrated grace and power with her reaction to the sentencing of her former partner, posting, “I offer forgiveness and I forgive him. Forgiveness is a sign of letting go and when you forgive someone that hurts you, you take away their power.”
While this helped to provide some closure for the young nurse, she found even more happiness in 2015.
At a Tampa Bay Rays game on May 11 of that year, Melissa was asked to come and throw the ceremonial first pitch. What she did not know was that her boyfriend Cameron had a very important question for her.
The two were married soon after Cameron’s proposal and have been happily married for years now!
See Melissa and all of the wonderful work she is doing on Instagram here!