'I Married My Rescuer': 9 True Stories Of Survival Turning To Romance

Real-life couples who met when one snatched the other from doom — and, from there, love bloomed.

February 12, 2019
By: Mike McPadden

After Being Stabbed 32 Times By Her Ex, Woman Marries EMT Who Saved Her Life

On January 24, 2012, Melissa Dohme stepped out of her home in Clearwater, Florida, and fell prey to an attack from her ex-boyfriend, Robert Burton. In a merciless assault, Burton stabbed Dohme 32 times with two different knives, slicing through her neck and back. He also knocked out her teeth and cracked open her skull before leaving Dohme for dead. The violence additionally triggered a stroke, which paralyzed part of Dohme’s face.

As an EMT crew worked to revive Dohme, she flatlined four times. Among the first responders who got Dohme to a hospital by helicopter was Cameron Hill. The EMT later said he had a “crazy feeling” that his path would cross with Dohme’s again.

After surviving against all odds, Dohme dedicated her life to fighting domestic violence. At a luncheon in her honor about 10 months later, Hill introduced himself. The pair then ended up dating for the next few years.

In 2015, Dohme was invited to throw the first pitch at a Tampa Bay Rays game. Hill ran out to Dohme on the field, fell to one knee, and handed her a baseball upon which he had written, “Will you marry me?” The answer, to the cheers of thousands, was “Yes.”

The couple wed in 2017 at a joyful ceremony attended by friends and family that included the medical team and six of the firefighters who were on hand the day Dohme and Hill first met. After the nuptials, Dohme said, “It was a full circle moment. I spent the worst day and the best day of my life with Cameron. [CBS News] [Daily Mail]

Photo: Melissa Dohme, shown in image she released of the injuries she sustained [Clearwater Police Department]

Auschwitz Survivor & Soldier Who Liberated The Death Camp Celebrated 71 Years Together

From the most hateful horrors of World War II came a love story that endured for more than seven decades.

In 1944, 20-year-old Edith Steiner was among the prisoners liberated from the infamous Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz by an Allied force that included John Mackay, a 23-year-old Scottish infantryman.

Steiner and her mother were the only members of her family to survive Auschwitz. Mackay himself had previously escaped a Third Reich POW camp by donning a disguise as an Italian soldier. The two of them bonded over the value — and the cost — of freedom.

After the war, Steiner and Mackay ended up attending the same victory dance. The valiant combat veteran Mackay turned out to be so nervous around Steiner, he sent a friend to ask if she would dance with him. Steiner said yes, but only if Mackay asked her himself. He worked up the nerve, and dance they did. Then, in July 1946, the couple got married.

In time, the Mackays opened a hotel in Scotland and had two children, Sharon and Peter. The couple celebrated 71 Valentine’s Days as husband and wife until Edith passed away from natural causes at age 93. [Aleteia]

Photo: Entrance to Auschwitz [Jochen Zimmermann/Wikimedia Commons]

Boston Marathon Bomb Victim Marries Firefighter

April 15, 2013, will forever live in infamy as the day that terrorist brothers Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and Tamerlan Tsarvaev set off two homemade pressure-cooker bombs near the finish line of the Boston Marathon. The attack killed three and injured hundreds, including 16 victims who lost limbs.

Among that last category was Roseanne Sdoia, who ended up losing most of her right leg. In the chaotic aftermath of the blasts, a firefighter named Mike Materia loaded Sdoia into a police transport vehicle and rode with her to the hospital, making sure she got immediate treatment.

As Sdoia recovered, Materia kept checking in on her. She later told a reporter, “He made friends with my family. He made friends with my friends.”

In time, Sdoia and Materia made friends with each other — and more. The couple dated for three years and got married in 2016. [The Knot]

Photo: Medical assistance at the first location after the Boston Marathon explosions on April 15, 2013 [Aaron "Tango" Tang/Wikimedia Commons]

Avalanche Survivor Marries Tour Guide On The Same Mountain Where He Rescued Her

During a visit to Serbia’s Suva Planina mountain in 2012, a sudden avalanche threatened to bury traveler Tatjana Rasevic under tons of deadly snow. Before she could be swept away however, Nenad Podova, a soldier who worked as a tour guide, grabbed Rasevic and yanked her to safety.

Rasevic later said, “I couldn’t believe I was still alive when this amazing-looking man pulled me up from under the snow. I thought he was an angel.”

Two years later, Rasevic and Podova returned to Suva Planina as a couple — and got married. Talking to the press, Podova said of their wedding location, “This way we can thank the mountain for sparing Tatjana’s life and for throwing us together.” [Digital Spy]

Photo: avalanche [Wikimedia Commons]

Man Marries Woman Who Talked Him Out Of Suicide As A Teenager

Kevin Walsh remembers the exact moment he met the person who would save his life one day — and with whom he has gone on to share his life as a married couple.

Walsh recalls being 13 at summer camp when a girl named Blake came up and made small talk with him. They exchanged online contact info and kept in touch for a while, but naturally fell off, as teenagers do.

About four years later, Walsh said he "went through some ... high school stuff that seemed earth-shattering at the time, and fell hard into depression." In fact, one day, he decided to kill himself and, as he was writing a suicide note, his phone rang. Out of the blue, Blake had called him.

Walsh said, "It was a number I didn't recognize, so I picked up and it was her." He opened up to Blake and said he was moments away from doing himself in. As Walsh remembers, “She literally said 'What? Don't do that.' And that was that. She made me promise to call her the next day, and we hung up. That night I started writing the words which, 10 years later, I'd propose with." [A Plus]

Photo: despair [Pixabay]

Illinois Man Donated His Liver To A Critically Ill Stranger — & Later Married Her

In donating half his liver to a woman he never met back in 2015, Christopher Dempsey of Frankfort, Illinois, not only saved a life — he ended up gaining a wife.

Dempsey said a coworker mentioned that his cousin, Heather Krueger, was being treated for autoimmune hepatitis and that, if she didn’t receive a liver transplant as soon as possible, she had only a 50-percent chance of living for more than two months.

The situation moved Dempsey to get tested. He proved to be a match for Krueger and underwent surgery to give her half of his liver. Both that operation and Krueger’s transplant proved to be successful. As the two patients recovered together on the same floor of the hospital, they grew close and fell in love.

Now fully healed, Dempsey and Krueger got married in October 2016. Dempsey says of donating his liver: “It was the best decision I ever made. It’s been awesome.” [People]

Photo: doctors performing organ transplant [Pixabay]

Friends Hike At Icy Waterfall; She Slips, He Pulls Her To Safety — & Into Love

A pair of friends were on a “hiking date” to Vancouver Island in Victoria, Canada. Their adventure took a potentially deadly turn that resulted in a dramatic rescue, a medal for bravery, and a lifelong romantic partnership.

Outdoors enthusiasts Janson Chapman and Becca Covey ventured out for a hike near Gold River in 2018 when she slipped on ice, tumbled down about 50 feet, and ended up clinging for her life from a log overhanging a deadly drop at Lower Myra Falls.

In that terrifying moment, Chapman said all he could hear were Covey’s cries for help. In turn, Covey said all she could hear was Chapman saying he loved her and that he wasn’t going to lose her.

Chapman managed to climb down and get Covey, after which he carried her on his back for about 40 minutes to the closest hospital. As Covey recovered from her injuries, the pair realized that they were more than “just friends” and got engaged.

In addition, Governor General Julie Payette went on to honor Chapman with a medal of service at British Columbia’s government house. [The Epoch Times]

Photo: Frozen Waterfall with icicles at Partnachklamm, Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany [Richard Bartz/Wikimedia Commons, image cropped]

Burn Victim Marries Off-Duty Paramedic Who Rushed To Her Rescue — 13 Years After They Met

All the way back in 1983, Kevin Rolfe was driving home after a long shift as a paramedic in Gainesville, Florida, when an emergency call came up on his scanner. A small airplane had crashed nearby, four passengers were injured, and a fire was spreading fast. Rolfe immediately flew into action.

Upon arrival, Rolfe made his way to Cheryl Baker, a young woman who suffered second and third-degree burns over 95-percent of her body. He began immediate treatment of Baker and, as she recalls, “It was like God was talking to me. I believed him when he told me to hang in there and everything would be okay.”

Rolfe said he never expected Baker to survive, even after escorting to a hospital her via helicopter. He stayed in touch with Baker’s family for a while, but then lost track. Six years later, the pair met again by chance when Rolfe was doing research about rescue dogs. One expert trainer recommended to him turned out to be Cheryl Baker.

Rolfe and Baker met up again, fell in love, and launched a hugely successful rescue dog operation in Florida. In 1996, a whole 13 years after fate brought them together, the couple got married. [Tulsa World]

Photo: small plane crash [iStock Photo]

Boston Bombing Victim Marries His Rehab Nurse

While rehab nurse Krista D’Agostino may not have physically pulled Boston Marathon bombing victim James Costello from the rubble, he absolutely credits her with saving his life.

Costello emerged burned and severely injured from the twin blasts of the two pressure-cooker bombs that day. He then spent the subsequent year undergoing painful surgeries and tough physical recovery at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

Krista D’Agostino was by his side the whole time, encouraging him to believe that life was worth it, and that he had to keep fighting.

Ultimately, D’Agostino and Costello fell in love and got married in 2014. Afterward, on the Today show, Costello said, “She hates when I say this, but I’m actually glad I got blown up. I wish everyone else didn’t have to, but I don’t think I would have ever met her if I didn’t, so I’m pretty happy.” [New York Post]

Photo: Nicole De Khors [Burst]