Man Who Fell Into Coma After Eating Slug Dies

Sydney Man Who Became Ill After Eating A Slug Passes Away

The conversation came, 'should I eat it?' Off Sam went. Hence, one dare might have gone too far after it cost a young man his life, he was dared to eat a slug and paid the ultimate price for it.

An Australian man has died eight years after eating a garden slug on a dare left him paralysed. He ended up falling into a coma for more than a year, and the reason was stunning: He'd been infected with rat lungworm, a parasite usually found in rodents, but which can occasionally end up in snails and slugs if they eat rat excrement. He contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis ― a form of meningitis ― and fell into a coma that lasted 420 days. The Sunday Project's Lisa Wilkinson‏ wrote in a column Monday that for almost nine years, "Sam's attractive angel of a mum Katie has been right by Sam's side as his chief carer, never wavering in her love; feeding him, wheeling him, driving him, getting him bathed and toileted, organising doctor and hospital visits, always trying to find the lighter moments so she could see her boy smile again, waking at every sound in the night, always making sure Sam's friends felt welcomed in his new, limited world".

Katie Ballard was not only supportive of her son throughout the final years of his life, but also of his friends Jimmy Galvin and Michael Sheasby who had been with Ballard when he had made the fateful decision to eat a slug.

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On Friday, Ballard died at age 28 after contracting rat lungworm disease from the slug.

When he was released from hospital, three years after being admitted, his friends rallied around him and tried to raise as much money as possible to help with the medical bills, but sadly it was never enough. She reported that his last words were "I love you", said to his mom. However, he soon began to regain a little bit of movement in his limbs. When he did, the former rugby standout "just started bawling his eyes out".

Back in 2011, Mr Ballard's mother shared a post to Facebook outlining how his condition had changed their lives.

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"When I walked in he was very, very gaunt, and there were cables everywhere - it was a big shock".

They'd watch footy like they used to and share a beer, even if that meant just a sip for Sam when Katie left the room.

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"Told him it was the stress of the last 16 months that had affected my eyesight". "He spent the afternoon laughing at me as I read him the sports section of the newspaper with new glasses on". He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot.

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