Melissa Dohme was only 20 years old in 2012 when she almost died because of abuse at home. Her boyfriend at the time was 22 years old. He attacked her, stabbed her 32 times, and left her to die.
By the grace of God and a miracle, Melissa survived the brutal attack. EMTs came to help in Clearwater, Florida. Cameron Hill, a firefighter and paramedic, was one of them.
Melissa went to a church event after the attack, where she met Cameron. She was still healing from her injuries at the time. When they first met, they got along great, and by 2013, they were in love.
Melissa was still on a long road to physical and mental recovery when they started dating. She was missing teeth, had deep cuts and scars, and could not close one of her eyes. Due to the attack she went through, she had to have several surgeries to help rebuild her face and body.
she explained: ”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.”
Melissa seems to feel better today than she has in a long time. She now speaks out against domestic violence and often uses Facebook to tell people about her own life. Since the terrible thing that happened to her, she has graduated from college and become a nurse.
Sharing her story and meeting other survivors has given her strength and shown her that she is not alone.
Robert Lee Burton Jr. got what he deserved when a judge gave him a life sentence in prison after a jury found him guilty.
In 2017, Melissa told BBC: ”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.”
”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.”
When Melissa went to court in August 2013 to face the person who had attempted to kill her, Cameron was there to support her.
By posting on Facebook after the sentencing of her ex-partner, Melissa showed both grace and strength in her response: “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 gave the young nurse some closure, she discovered even greater joy in 2015.
On May 11 of that year, Melissa was invited to attend and throw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game. She was unaware that her boyfriend Cameron had an extremely significant question for her.
Soon after Cameron proposed, the two were wed, and they have been blissfully married ever since!
Visit Melissa’s Instagram account to see more of her great work.