Man paralyzed after diving into creek to rescue girl - Atlanta News, Weather, Traffic, and Sports | FOX 5

Man paralyzed after diving into creek to rescue girl

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ROCKMART, Ga. -

A Rockmart man is fighting for his life after saving a complete stranger. Authorities call Michael Patterson a hero after he selflessly dove into a creek to rescue a 4-year-old girl.

The incident happened on Saturday near the Silver Comet Trail. Carlisa Jones said her daughter stepped into a creek.  The current swept the young girl away.

"In the water, all I saw was the top of her head, and I was just yelling, ‘Grab her. Somebody grab her,'" said Jones.

Jones said that Patterson didn't hesitate to dive in and help save the girl.

"He's a God-send basically," said Jones. "He was there. He was supposed to have been there."

Patterson broke his neck in three places and severed his spine, according to his mother, Vicki Jones.

According to Jones, Patterson had been floating face down in the water for three minutes before anyone realized what had happened.

The 43-year-old father was transported to Redmond Regional Medical Center in Rome. He is paralyzed from the waist down.

"I have no doubt in my mind he would do it all over again," Jones said.

Patterson just started a new job as a contractor two weeks and has no insurance, his family said. His family hopes to get him into the Shepherd Center in Atlanta for rehabilitation. They said their funds are limited because Patterson's father has cancer and his grandfather is bedridden.

UPDATE: After this story was posted on the FOX 5 Facebook page, we received numerous messages from people asking how they could help Michael Patterson.  All requests for fundraisers or donations should go through his family.

To contact the family, email: FriendsOfMikePatterson@gmail.com

Donations can be made to:

River City Bank
"Mike Patterson Donation Fund"
228 N. 2nd Ave SW
Rome, GA 30165

Some family members and friends have started a Facebook page that will provide updates. 

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