Saturday, 19 January, 2019

Australian Who Ate Slug on a Dare Dies After Long Health Nightmare

Sam Ballard died on Friday Sam Ballard died on Friday
Melissa Porter | 07 November, 2018, 10:27

The turning point in Ballard's life came when a friend noticed a slug crawling across the garden, and dared him to eat it.

In an interview with The Sunday Project, one of his friends said they were having a "wine appreciation night" when Ballard took on the dare. 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 a type of meningitis called eosinophilic meningoencephalitis which caused brain injuries.

"Sam passed away on Friday morning at Hornsby Hospital, not far from where he grew up, surrounded by 20 of those he most loved in the world", Project's Lisa Wilkinson wrote.

"We have some sad news for you now".

Sam's mother, Katie Ballard, has said that she does not her son's friends for what happened, and said they were just "being mates". Toddler from Big Island Contracts Rat Lungworm Disease, Hawaii's 5th Case in This Year.

His close friends, many of whom were present at the party on a fateful night in 2010, stuck around for him. Sadly, after eight years of medical complications and life in a wheelchair, Sam passed away on Friday last week.

While he was initially unable to move his limbs, the former Barker College student worked hard to regain some movement.

The news show announced in a blog post that Ballard died Friday, almost nine years after the fateful night.

Here's what you need to know.

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. "When they visited, as they did often, Sam's eyes would always light up". Though she had hoped that her son might learn to walk again, Ballard was never able to recover from the impact of eating a slug, before his death.

"No one gets sick from that", she told him.

"Physios had Sam standing in the frame at the gym", she once wrote on Facebook. But she revealed to Australian media how hard it has been for Sam, coping with the consequences of a mindless action.

Katie spent years fighting for adequate care for Sam after 2010.

Katie applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2016 and Sam was granted a AUD $492,000 package. As a result of media coverage, the decision was later reversed, according to the Grafton Daily Examiner.