Man dies eight years after eating slug on a dare

Brenda Watkins
November 6, 2018

She reported that his last words were "I love you", said to his mom.

Then a slug crawled across the concrete patio and Sam's friends dared him to eat it.

Others told Jimmy Galvin - Sam's longtime friend and host of the 2010 backyard party that changed so many lives - that he was "a great friend to Sam".

Doctors determined that the Australian man had contracted eosinophilic meningitis - a rare disease that affects the membranes of the brain and spinal cord - from the slug, which was infected with the rat lungworm parasite, according to Sky News.

Tragically, Mr Ballard contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and lapsed into a coma for 420 days, suffering a severe infection to his brain.

"We have some sad news for you now".

Ballard's mother, who has said she doesn't blame his friends for the slug-eating dare, has been fighting the Australian government since at least last October, when her son's disability funding was significantly cut.

"He had an army of friends and family who loved and cared for him for which he was truly grateful", the obituary read.

Eight years after falling ill it was announced that Sam passed away on Friday, November 2.

"His last days were the happiest and he was surrounded by a room full of love".

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For eight years his friends and family - led by his mother Katie - stood by him and helped him. However, he soon began to regain a little bit of movement in his limbs.

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

His close friends often visited him, even if it was a "shock" to see their mate struggling.

Michael Sheasby said: "When I walked in, he was very, very gaunt, and there were cables everywhere".

He later added: "We like to sit down and watch the footy and watch the rugby".

"Physios had Sam standing in the frame at the gym", she wrote.

In 2011, Katie shared a post on Facebook, maintaining hope that her "rough-and-tumble Sam" would recover. His mother told him not to worry. "He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot", she wrote. "It's huge. The impact is huge".

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

But in October, 2017, that was reviewed and slashed by more than half. As a result of media coverage, the decision was later reversed, according to the Grafton Daily Examiner.

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