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ROCKMART, Ga. (WXIA) -- A 43-year-old father is in critical condition after diving in a creek to save a young child.

Michael Patterson is in intensive care at a Rome hospital. His family says he has three broken bones in his neck. His mother says Patterson has lost the use of his legs and has some paralysis in one arm.

"Maybe it will make our faith stronger," said Vicki Jones. "That's how we're making it."

Patterson and his 9-year-old son were leaving Seaborn Jones Park in Rockmart when they heard screams.

A 4-year-old child had slipped into water over her head. Patterson dove in to save her and hit bottom. Despite the injuries to his neck and back, he somehow managed to get the child to safety.

"He knew that was a child in danger, and they needed him," said Jones.

Patterson's family would like to see him treated at the Shephard Center in Atlanta, but they worry how they're going to pay for treatment. Patterson recently started a new job and has no medical insurance. On top of all of that, his step-father is suffering from cancer.

"I know the Lord's gone take care of me," said Ricky Roberson. "I'll be fine. I want Michael to get better."

His family has started a Facebook page, looking for prayers and support. They're working on a bank account to accept donations.

Vicki Jones says it's not the first time her son has risked his life for someone else. Two weeks ago, Michael helped save a man from a burning tanker truck.

His mother says he would do it all again.

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