Australian man who swallowed slug on a dare dies at 28

Ben Davidson
November 8, 2018

"The conversation came up, you know, 'Should I eat it?' And off Sam went".

Sam Ballard, 29, was left with a brain injury after contracting rat lungworm disease, also known as eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, when he ate a common garden slug during a party with friends in 2010.

'We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across here, ' Mr Galvin said.

An Australian man died Friday, more than eight years after being paralyzed by eating a garden slug on a teenage dare. The cause of the disease was a parasite rat lung worm, which was in the body of a gastropod mollusk: slugs often eat the feces of rodents.

The Sunday Project host Lisa Wilkinson confirmed the tragic news. His last words to his mother were, "I love you", according to the Australian news show.

Sam took up the challenge to eat a slug, which was poisonous unbeknownst to him, on a dare from friends at a 2010 party. Ballard spent the last moments of his life as Sydney's Hornsby Hospital; The Daily Mail wrote, "Mr Ballard passed away in the morning 'surrounded by 20 of those he most loved in the world, ' his mother, Katie Ballard, said". Health officials warn people not to eat raw snails or slugs and to thoroughly wash fruits and vegetables and inspect them for the slimy creatures.

Ballard did, and soon after he started feeling pain in his legs; the Independent notes he also started vomiting and had dizzy spells.

"So, you know he's there", Galvin said.

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Another friend, Michael Sheasby, described the first time he walked into Sam's hospital room after the accident.

When his friends visited, they said his face lit up and he was very much "still there". "It was a big shock".

His eyes would always light up when they came around.

"It made his day", his mates said. Katie Ballard, Sam's mom, thought her son would eventually regain his motor functions.

"It devastated and changed his life forever, changed my life forever".

Since last September, the australian health system has chose to reduce the allocation of aid that allowed his mother, Katie, to cover the cost of care. In 2016, Katie applied to the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) after Sam became eligible for a $492,000 package, according to the outlet.

Last September, without warning, the NDIS texted Ms Ballard to say a review of his plan had slashed his allocation to around £75,000. Media coverage and the family's fight for additional funding and care saw the decision reversed.

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