Domestic Violence Survivor Gets Engaged to the Man Who Saved Her Life
How We Met
“Every once in a while in the middle of ordinary life, love gives us a fairytale” I feel that I am living a real life fairytale and I am so blessed to have found my prince charming.
I’ve learned that fairytales are REAL, not because they tell us dragons exists, but that the dragon can be beaten!
In January of 2012, I survived a horrific and senseless act of violence that never should have happened. I was attacked and stabbed 32 times outside my mother’s home by an abusive ex-boyfriend I met in high school. I had broken up with him 3 months prior because of the abuse. 19 stabs were in my head, neck, and face….the rest were defensive stabs on my hands and arms. I flat-lined 4 times in the ER, received 12 units of blood, suffered a stroke in my cerebellum, had a fractured skull and nose, missing two teeth, right facial paralysis, stabbed larynx, and was severely beaten.
It’s a miracle I am still alive today…even the doctors say so. I know God saved me, He couldn’t stop what happened but He did perfectly line up each individual after the attack who had a hand in saving me….I believe I was saved to tell my story. Following that horrific night, I felt the conviction to become an advocate and dedicate my life to speaking out against the violence that is wreaking havoc on our generation.
I never thought the day would come that I’d trust someone enough to date them. I was always worried about how I could ever explain to someone all that had happened to me or let my guard down to trust again. That was until I met Cameron.
I never had to worry about explaining to him what happened to me because he already knew. He is a Firefighter-EMT and was on my call that horrific night. He was the one who set up the landing zone for the helicopter and helped load me into it. We met about a year later as a surprise when I was giving my first keynote speech for my community’s local domestic violence center. He invited my mom and I to dinner at the fire station so we could spend some time with all of our heroes on the crew. Both of us instantly knew it was meant to be and after a couple months of getting to know each other, we had our official first date. I believe God brought us together and there is a reason he was on duty that night…. it was to meet once again when the timing was right.
How He Asked
I work tirelessly as an advocate for a local nonprofit organization, Julie Weintraub’s Hands Across the Bay. My boss, Julie, called me with some really exciting news! She told me that I was invited by the Tampa Bay Rayes to throw out the ceremonial first pitch in recognition of my work as an advocate. Little did I know, Cameron contacted her weeks prior because of her connections with the Rays and told her he wanted to plan a very special surprise proposal for me at the baseball field.
We have been together for 2 1/2 years now and he has always been by my side loving, supporting, and cheering me on in all that I do. When I called him to tell him about the “first pitch” he was so excited for me (per usual). We love the Ray’s and he told me he was a little envious because this is an awesome once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
We practiced throwing and catching for many days in the backyard to prepare for this moment! I wanted to make him proud with my throw because he grew up playing baseball and it was being broadcast on national TV with Inside Edition. That was an entire other part of the surprise…Inside Edition contacted us for a follow-up story on our relationship, my work, and facial nerve surgery (I have right-sided paralysis as a result of the attack).
I have a lot going on right now, so I asked if Cameron can handle the communication and just tell me the day I need to take off work to interview. I left him in charge which unknowingly gave him free range to plan the most EPIC SURPRISE! He told me that they are asking about May 11th for an interview, which I thought it was a wonderful coincidence because it was the same day as the first pitch. What great footage to have for the follow-up story! I fell right into the trap!
Now, fast-forward to the moment. I am walking out to the pitchers mound and waiting for the ball to be brought out for me to throw. I am waving, smiling, and completely clueless.
Then, I look over to my left and see Cameron running towards me and I thought, “Aw, this is so sweet!! They have Cameron coming out in a nice button down shirt (he changed because Inside Edition provided a button camera) to romantically bring me out the ball.” As he got closer, he presented me with a baseball that said, “Will You Marry Me?” written in red and got down on one knee to ask me.
I was so elated, surprised, and over-the-moon happy and in love. I felt like I could have almost fainted! Of course, I said YES! My throw was not nearly as good as when we practiced, but I’d say Cameron’s plan was a home run. Lots of our family and friends were there already for my “first pitch” so we were able to all be together with an unexpected engagement celebration immediately after. I not only have my very own hero but my very own, real life fairy tale. Cameron is my dream come true.
Please share Melissa’s story with us to help raise awareness for domestic violence and show that change can happen. Life can be different and all women deserve happiness, respect and her fairytale moment.