In 2012, twenty year old Melissa Dohme, of Clearwater, Florida, received a phone call from her once high school boyfriend who asked to meet her one last time. For closure, he claimed. Melissa agreed and met the boyfriend, who had been abusive on more than one occasion. When he arrived, he immediately pulled out a knife and stabbed her thirty two times, all over her face, neck, arms, and hands. He left her bleeding outside her house, where someone called 911. Emergency personnel that included several firefighters responded to the call. Among those first responders was Cameron Hill. Cameron worked to perform CPR until Melissa was life flighted by helicopter to a nearby trauma center. Melissa flat lined four times and went into a coma as a result of a stroke due to the large amount of blood she lost. She was left nearly paralyzed and was unable to speak or even smile as a result of the nerve damage that had been done.
Less than a year later, Melissa went to a luncheon put on by the fire department, to meet those who played a key role in her survival that difficult day. There, she met Cameron and they exchanged numbers. Within a matter of months, the two began dating. Cameron played a huge supporting role in helping Melissa through a number of surgeries as well as rigorous physical therapy. In 2015, Cameron proposed to Melissa on the field during a Tampa Rays baseball game. And just last month, the two were married in front of some of those very same people who helped Melissa through her incredibly difficult medical journey.
Melissa’s experience led her to going to college and becoming an advocate against domestic violence. She hopes that the publicity following her relationship with Cameron allows others to hear her message: you are never alone and it is never your fault. She works to bring awareness to domestic violence. She urges anyone who may want to end an abusive relationship to reach out for help rather than end it alone, to avoid any dangerous situations that may arise.