Melissa Dohme, a young nurse who, in 2012, was stabbed 32 times and left for dead by her estranged boyfriend, threw out the first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game on Monday night — and got a surprise on-field marriage proposal from the paramedic who saved her life.
Since her miraculous recovery from the brutal attack, Dohme has been an active and vocal advocate for victims of domestic violence.
The Tampa Bay baseball team recognized Dohme’s admirable community service by giving her first-pitch honors prior to the Rays-Yankees game on Monday.
As she strode out to the pitcher’s mound wearing flashy cowboy boots, the public address announcer introduced Dohme to the 10,000 fans at Tropicana Field.
But, then he made a surprise announcement. Her boyfriend, Cameron Hill, would present her with the official baseball.
This was no ordinary ball, however. It was marked in bold red ink with the phrase, “Will you marry me.”
Then Hill went down on one knee, pulled out a small black box that contained a diamond engagement ring, and asked Dohme for her hand in marriage. The startled 23-year-old said “Yes” and the couple embraced.
The Tampa fans cheered wildly, and then Dohme confidently threw out the first pitch, with her new fiancé handling the catching duties.
The sheer joy of the moment is a far cry from the terror Dohme experienced in January of 2012. Her estranged boyfriend stabbed her 32 times and left her bleeding — and nearly dead — on the sidewalk in front of her St. Petersburg home. He had become enraged when she broke off their relationship.
Paramedic Hill was a first responder that fateful day and Dohme credits him with having saved her life, according to the Tampa Tribune.
As Dohme was airlifted from the scene, Hill knew he would see her again. It was a “sixth sense,” he told the Tampa Bay Times.
"When I look back on that night, I can't think of it as all bad anymore because I met Cameron," she said. "He's the one I've been waiting for. My fairy tale."
Dohme’s determined recovery impressed her doctors. Even though she flat-lined four times during her three-week stay in the hospital and suffered nerve damage on one side of her face, she walked from the medical facility under her own power.
Hill supported Dohme’s recovery efforts and even sat next to her in the courtroom as her abuser, in October 2013, was sentenced to life in prison.
The two began to date and have been a couple ever since.
Dohme believes that God saved her life so she could advocate on behalf of girls and women in abusive relationships. “I’m alive for a reason and I was given this purpose to be an advocate against domestic violence,” she said.
Dohme and Hill have not set a wedding date.
Check out the video of how the scene played out on Monday night in Tampa Bay.
Images courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rays; Facebook; TampaBay.com.