In January 2012, Melissa Dohme was lifted into an ambulance after being stabbed 32 times in the face, neck, arms and shoulders by then-boyfriend Robert Lee Burton Jr. in her Clearwater, Florida, home.
After two bystanders had called 911, one of the first responders was a man named Cameron Hill, who resuscitated her after she flat-lined several times. Two months later, Dohme and Hill reconnected at a luncheon. By the following December, they were dating.
Dohme went on to college and then became an advocate for survivors of domestic violence for Hands Across the Bay, an organization that helps families in crisis. On May 11, 2015, she was invited to throw the ceremonial first pitch at the Tampa Bay Rays game in St. Petersburg, Florida. When she went out to throw it, Hill surprised her by walking across the field and handing her a baseball on which he had written the words, "Will you marry me?"
She said yes.
On March 4, 2017, Dohme married the paramedic who saved her in a stunning ceremony at The Lange Farm in Dade City, Florida.
The two tied the knot in front of 200 friends and family members, and six of the firefighters, first responders and doctors who helped rescue Dohme that day. She walked down the aisle in cowboy boots and a garter that read, "He's the Reason My Heart Beats."
She was beaming as she walked down the aisle, having recently received the final reconstructive surgery on her face after being disfigured by her ex-boyfriend's brutal attack.
"I would never want to go through the horrific attack again, but with where I am today, I wouldn't change it," Melissa told GoodHousekeeping.com. "It has made me into the strong woman I am today and also led me to find my purpose as a Domestic Violence Prevention Advocate. I know God saved me that night to be able to speak out for women who are suffering in silence, and for those who have been forever silenced because their abuser succeeded in taking their life. I would have never met Cameron either, so I believe it was fate that brought us together."
She described her wedding as a full circle moment, when she married the man who was there for both the "best and worst day" of her life.
She has a single message to other women who are recovering from domestic abuse:
"Life and love after abuse is possible."
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