ROCKMART, Ga. (TheBlaze/AP) -- The Georgia dad who was paralyzed after he dove into a creek in northwest Georgia to save a 4-year-old girl who was in danger of drowning is fighting to survive. His family is also fighting to pay his mounting medical bills.
But thanks to a number of generous people, the latter problem may soon be solved.
Michael Patterson's friends and family have started an online fund to help pay for the hero's medical bills.
As of 7 p.m. ET on Thursday, more than $36,000 had been given by generous donors.
Rockmart Fire Department Sgt. Chad King says Patterson, 43, was visiting the Euharlee Creek with his son Saturday when the girl, Javaeh Jones, went underwater. Authorities say the girl had been playing in the creek and appeared to step into a section of deep water.
Officials say Patterson dove into the water and was able to rescue the girl, but hit his head during the dive and was critically injured. He was taken to a hospital and doctors say the man is now paralyzed from the chest down.
Vicki Davis, Patterson's mother, says he recently started a job installing sheet rock and doesn't have health insurance.
"I did not realize that there was still kindness in this world like there is,” Davis told WSBTV-TV. “I kind of thought the world had grown cold until this happened to my son."
If you are able, you can donate here.