Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mike Patterson: A Humble Hero

One of my blog followers and Facebook friends sent me the link to a wonderful article a few days ago about Michael Patterson, a 43-year-old man who was in an accident on Saturday, June 8. Mike was spending some father-son time with his nine-year-old son when he noticed a four-year-old girl drowning in the river. Mike was a strong swimmer, so he wasted no time and jumped into the river. He swam over to the girl and managed to save her, but minutes later bystanders noticed Mike floating face down in the river. Mike's mother said, "He was somehow able to push the little girl out of the river. Then he drowned." Paramedics were called and they rushed Mike to the hospital. Mike's mother said that he mumbled the words, "I don't want to die. I want to live," from his hospital bed.
Mike and his son
When Mike jumped into the river he was only thinking of the little girl in peril and obviously gave no thought to himself, or how shallow the water in the river was. He dove in, breaking his neck in three places and severing his spinal cord. Miraculously, Mike was still able to save the little girl. Surely there were unseen angels helping to pull the girl to safety. As of now Mike's paralyzed from the chest down, although with therapy he could possibly regain some of the movement in his arms. Of course nothing's certain, and with God anything is possible.
Last Tuesday Mike was taken off of the ventilator that had been breathing for him and was successfully breathing on his own, which was a good sign, but then he took a turn for the worse on Wednesday when he developed pneumonia as a result of the bacteria filled water that had gotten in his lungs. He was put back on the ventilator and put in a drug-induced coma. He's been battling a high fever, but that's to be expected when you have pneumonia.

In an interview, Mike's mom said that she wasn't surprised to see her son risk his life for someone else since helping others is a habit of his. Just a few weeks ago he witnessed a tractor-trailer T-bone an SUV and immediately rushed to the aid of the injured driver, pulling him to safety from the flames of his 18-wheeler. Mike's mom said, "It scared me to death." She said, "Son, your heart is bigger than your body; you helping like this is going to get you killed." How ironic that just a few weeks later Mike putting the little girl's well-being before himself nearly did cost him his life.

Mike, who lives in Georgia, and his family members are hoping he can be transferred to Shepherd Center in Atlanta as soon as he's well enough to make the trip. [Shepherd Center is a non-profit rehab facility, and is actually the hospital that I went to for rehab after my accident.] I hope things work out so Mike CAN be transferred to Shepherd because getting good rehab is absolutely imperative when you've sustained a spinal cord injury since paralysis affects every aspect of your life. It's in the patient's best interest to be cared for in a facility that really knows the ins and outs of spinal cord injuries so that the patient and their family can acquire the knowledge of HOW to live with a SCI so that they can have the best life possible.

A lot of people have been asking what they can do to help Mike. At times like this you feel so powerless since there really isn't anything you can do as far as the victim's physical situation, but you can help alleviate their financial burden by contributing to their cause if you're able. As it turns out, Mike started a new job two weeks ago, but the job unfortunately doesn't provide medical insurance.  Mike's family is struggling to scrape funds together to cover his expenses. As a disabled person, I can vouch for the fact that being disabled is extremely expensive, especially if you don't have medical insurance.

Mike's family started a Facebook page "Friends of Mike Patterson" to give updates on his status, and is a place to provide moral support for Mike and raise funds for his mounting medical expenses.  If we all  give a little it will add up to a lot! I cannot think of a more fitting quote for this situation than this: "God does notice us, and He watches over us. But it is usually through another mortal that He meets our needs. Therefore, it is vital that we serve each other." 
Whenever I hear about people being involved in a terrible accident (like Mike) or being diagnosed with some serious illness, it just reaffirms the fact that life is fragile and we are not invincible creatures. In a split second Mike's life went from being average and ordinary, to being in jeopardy. he Mike's road to recovery is a long one, that's going to be filled with highs and lows. I know that with his family, friends and the positive vibes from all of his "fans" around the world, he'll still be able to live a productive life. If I could tell Mike and his family one thing right now, it would be that things WILL get better, even though they seem bleak right now and not to lose hope.

[Click here for a follow-up on Mike.]


Melissa said...

Beautifully written, Heather. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I didn't know that Mike had also recently risked his life saving another person. Wow, what an amazing man. If his acts of bravery are any indication of his determination and strength, then he will definitely heal and continue to be an inspiration to people.

Jayne said...

Heather, you and Mike are a blessing to all of us who have encountered your story on Mikes brave acts of kindness. When you think about all that is wrong in this world then you hear of a hero, Mike is just that, a true hero. He represents what we should all aspire to be, a truly good person. He represents the golden rule of, Treat others as you want to be treated. If someone slaps you on the cheek then offer them your other cheek. My mom taught this me when I was a little girl and hearing Mikes story gives those virtues of life true meaning. Thank you Mike for making my moms words profound and making this world a much better place. You are in my prayers!

Dominque said...

Wow. I know that feeling of act first think, think later in an instance of a young child drowning. I am truly inspired by this story. I have added another to my prayers tonight. God be with you Mike Patterson. #prayformike

Dominque said...

*act first/think later

Kimberlie Wehrman said...

you will have a wonderful, special, beautiful place in heaven someday ;-) GOD BLESS

Lisa said...

Awesome post!

Anonymous said...

From the friends of Mike Facebook Page.

ROME, GEORGIA USA, June 28, 2013 — It is with great regret and sorrow we announce that good Samaritan, Mike Patterson, passed away early this morning, as confirmed by Brian Meadows, Mike’s brother.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. Was going to do it myself if no one else had. Even though I did not personally know Mike, I think anyone who followed his story became connected to him in some small way. My heart is truly breaking for his family and friends. Heaven has gained a TRUE superhero.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Rest in Peace, Mike! Remember him and he belongs to the Clan Patterson.

Anonymous said...

His name in Scottish Gaelic is Mìcheal MacPhadraig.

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