Melissa Dohme, from Florida, met Cameron Hill after the fireman was called to the scene of the horrific attack in January 2012.
She was knifed in the neck, arms, face and hand by a man who had been her high school sweetheart when she was just 20-years-old. He is now serving a life sentence.
The pair had dated since school, but Melissa noticed his behaviour changed when she started applying to universities.
Melissa tried to break up with him but Burton told her he would kill himself if she left him.
In October 2011, after a heavy drinking session, he launched a violent attack on her.
She reported it to the police and he was charged with domestic battery and sentenced to 10 hours in prison.
Melissa thought their relationship was finally over but on 24 January 2012 he called her at 2am and said he needed closure from their romance.
He promised that if he could see her for one final time he would leave her alone.
“I didn’t listen to my intuition telling me it was wrong, and that was the biggest mistake I ever made.
“I took my pepper spray and phone, thinking I could protect myself if I needed to,” she said.
Melissa walked up to him and it appeared he was reaching out for a hug.
However, instead of embracing her he flipped a switchblade open and manically started stabbing her.
“I remember the pain of the first few but after that I went into fight-or-flight mode,” she said.
“I tried to fight back and bite his hand. I was punching and screaming and doing everything I could, but I kept falling to the ground because I was losing so much blood.”
A young couple intervened and called 911. Burton went to his car to get an even bigger blade and Melissa said he had “every intention of killing me”.
Police arrived on the scene and found her lying in the road.
She had suffered a stroke because of the extreme loss of blood and her speech was slurred.
A helicopter airlifted her to hospital and surgeons said she “died on the table several times” and had to be resuscitated.
“My wounds were severe. I had a broken skull and jaw. My head and nose were fractured,” she said.
Melissa spent several days in intensive care. She had had 19 stab wounds on her head, neck and face, was missing teeth and doctors had to shave her head.
Meanwhile, Burton had attempted to kill himself but was unsuccessful.
Melissa feared she would be “single for the rest of my life” because of what she looked like and the emotional impact of the ordeal.
Determined to not let the attack rule her life, she began speaking out about the assault to help others.
At a speaking event in October 2012 she met Cameron Hill, now 41 – one of the emergency service operators who saved her life.
After hugging and crying together they exchanged numbers. He eventually asked her out on a date.
“We had different dates, we had a barbecue – we love barbecue in southern Florida – and we went to a shooting range,” she said.
She finally had her happy ending a couple of years later when Cameron popped the question with a “beautiful” diamond ring. She immediately said yes.
The pair are set to tie the knot later this year.