Mike Patterson was paralyzed when he dove head-first into creek to save a 4-year-old girl being pulled under, and now his friends are trying to give back with an online fundraiser.
Patterson, who had just started a job as a contractor and had no health insurance, was spending time with his 9-year-old son at the Georgia creek. When he saw 4-year-old Javaeh Jones being pulled under by the creek’s current, the 43-year-old dived into the water trying to save her.
But in his dive Mike Patterson misjudged the water’s depth, hitting his head and breaking his neck in three places. Patterson also severed his spine and was left paralyzed from the chest down.
Still, witnesses say Patterson was able to help get the girl back to safety.
“They don’t know how (he saved her) […] The little girl was at the bottom, but they saw something push her up,” a witness said. “They got the little girl and they didn’t realize what happened to Michael.”
Patterson is being treated at nearby Emory Hospital, but doesn’t have medical insurance to pay what will be large medical bills. So friends and family came together to start an online fund, one that had already raised close to $50,000 at press time.
Patterson’s mother, Vickie Jones Roberson, said she is encouraged to see the outpouring of love and support for him after the injury.
“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.”
A Facebook page for Mike Patterson also gained close to 40,000 likes and brought in people from around the world wishing him well in his recovery.
Javaeh was able to walk away from the incident unharmed. Her mother said that Mike Patterson was “a God-send” for saving her daughter.