Man dies 8 years after being dared to eat slug

Sam Ballard was left paralysed after contracting eosinophilic meningoencephalitis – a strand of meningitis. Image Facebook  Sam BallardMore

Sam Ballard was left paralysed after contracting eosinophilic meningoencephalitis – a strand of meningitis. Image Facebook Sam BallardMore

Sam Ballard was enjoying a few red wines with his friends when a garden slug crawled across the outdoor table in 2010.

An Australian man who was paralysed after swallowing a slug has died.

But the slug was the culprit, and had led Sam to contract rat lungworm, or angiostrongyliasis - a parasite carried by rats that affects the brain and spinal cord.

Shortly after eating the slug he was diagnosed with eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which later caused him to fall into a coma for 420 days, and spend three years in hospital.

Ballard's death was announced on the Australian news show "The Sunday Project" by broadcaster Lisa Wilkinson.

"We have some sad news for you now".

'He had an army of friends and family who have loved and cared for him for which he was truly grateful.

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

According to Daily Mail Australia, his last words to heartbroken mum Katie were: "I love you". Meanwhile, Sam's mother does not blame his friends for his health, insisting that they were just kids who didn't know any better at that time. However, he soon began to regain a little bit of movement in his limbs.

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

In extremely rare cases - like Sam's - it can cause an infection of the brain.

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.

Wilkinson wrote that Katie was a "beautiful angel" who was "never wavering in her love" and "always trying to find the lighter moments so she could see her boy smile again".

"It made his day", his mates said.

Katie Ballard said that although her son was "still cheeky Sam" after the tragic stunt, "it's devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever", she wrote in a 2011 Facebook post. "He spent the afternoon laughing at me as I read him the sports section of the newspaper with new glasses on".

However, she added, Sam's illness hit the family hard. "The impact is huge".

In 2016, Katie Ballard applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) when Sam became eligible for a £300,000 package.

But in October, 2017, that was reviewed and slashed by more than half.

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