AS she lay covered in blood after being stabbed 32 times, MELISSA DOHME could never have imagined that her ordeal was actually the beginning of a fairytale romance.
But the firefighter-paramedic who saved her life, Cameron Hill, turned out to be her real-life Prince Charming – and now he’s her fiance!
“When I look back on that night, I can’t think it was bad anymore because I met Cameron,” said Melissa, 21.
Her nightmare unfolded early on Jan. 24, 2012, when her ex-boyfriend Robert Lee Burton Jr., showed up at her Clearwater, Fla., home begging for a chance to see her.
They’d dated for two years, and Melissa agreed to meet him outside. He asked to hug her, and when they did, he stabbed her in the neck with a pocket knife, police say.
Melissa, who’s just 5-foot-1, screamed as the 6-foot-4, 245-pound creep repeatedly stabbed her until she fell to the sidewalk, according to authorities.
Then Burton allegedly went to his truck, grabbed a bigger knife and stabbed and slashed Melissa with it.
Fortunately, a passing couple heard her cries for help. While they rushed to her aid and called 911, Burton allegedly sped off.
Meanwhile, Cameron, a 17-year veteran of the Clearwater fire department, answered the 911 call.
“Melissa’s injuries were horrendous,” he recalled. “She was literally covered in blood. It was so bad I couldn’t tell that she was a blonde.”
He helped stabilize her and then get her into a helicopter that airlifted her to a nearby hospital.
“I don’t know why, but I knew I’d see her again,” he said.
After arriving at the hospital, Melissa flatlined four times and received 12 pints of blood. She had a fractured skull, a fractured nose and lost a tooth.
“It’s a miracle I’m still here,” she said.
Melissa has recovered, but her face and arms are scarred and she can’t blink her right eye or smile fully due to nerve damage. In October, she spoke about her experience at a church. Cameron, 38, was in the audience.
“I was awestruck,” he said. “She was so strong, so determined – and so beautiful.”
He sought her out and gently hugged her.
“When he hugged me, I had butterflies in my stomach,” she recalled. “I was weirdly giddy. I had this feeling about him.”
They met again a month later, and Cameron asked Melissa for a date. They’re now inseparable and plan to marry.
But her 21-year-old ex faces a far different future. Burton has been charged with attempted first-degree murder. His trial is set for August and, if convicted, he could face a long time behind bars.
“After what I went through, I thought I’d never be able to have a romantic relationship again,” said Melissa, who’s studying to be a nurse. “But now, thanks to Cameron, I’ve found true love.”