A Georgia dad who became paralyzed after saving a little girl from drowning is now fighting for his life -- and for a way to pay his mounting medical bills.
Michael Patterson, 43, dove headfirst into a creek on Saturday when he noticed 4-year-old Javaeh Jones struggling to stay afloat. The heroic dad hit his head, broke his neck and severed his spinal cord in the process, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down, according to his fundraising page.
The father, whose own son was at the scene, is currently being treated at Emory Hospital, but doesn’t have medical insurance since he had just begun a new contracting job right before the accident, WSBTV reported. His friends and family are looking to generous donors to contribute to his online fund, which collected nearly $8,0000 as of press time.
Pledges and words of encouragement have been flooding Patterson’s Facebook page.
“Praying for Mike and his family!” one Facebook commenter wrote. “He is a true hero, there are not many who would risk their own lives for a stranger.”
Patterson’s devastated mother, Vickie Jones Roberson, has remained by her son’s bedside since the accident, and said she feels heartened by the outpouring of support she’s received.
"I did not realize that there was still kindness in this world like there is,” Roberson told WSBTV. “I kind of thought the world had grown cold until this happened to my son."
Javaeh emerged from the incident unscathed and her mother said that that she is grateful for Patterson’s selflessness.
"He's a God-send basically," Jones, who has no relation to Patterson’s mom, told myfoxatlanta.com. "He was there. He was supposed to have been there."
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
There are a number of ways to support Michael Patterson as he begins his recovery.
- The family has set up the Friends of Mike Patterson fund.
- Donors can also send checks to the Mike Patterson Donation Fund, c/o River City Bank, 228 N. 2nd Ave. SW, Rome, Ga. 30165
- To get in touch with the family directly, supporters can email FriendsOfMikePatterson@gmail.com.