After 8 years Sam Ballard, now 28 has passed away due to medical complications that started after he ate a garden slug.Back in 2010, Ballard was 19 years old he and his friends had been drinking when someone noticed a slug and dared Ballard to eat it.
Australian man Sam Ballard who was left paralysed after eating a slug dies aged 28 pic.twitter.com/3xEYmesH53
— Richard T Lishman (@rtlishman) November 5, 2018
“We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown up and a slug came crawling across here,” said Jimmy Galvin, one of Ballard’s closest friends. “The conversation came up, you know. ‘Should I eat it?’ And off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”
Quickly afterward Ballard realized that had made a bad decision and regretted what he had done.
He started experiencing serious pain in his legs. He told his mother and even admitted to her that he ate a slug. She told him that “no one gets sick from that”.
The doctor thought he might be developing MS (as his father suffers from the condition), but that was quickly ruled out.
Eventually, it was determined he had been infected by the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis – a worm that is most commonly found in rodents but can be present in slugs or snails if they eat rat feces. This led to him contracting a strand of meningitis called eosinophilic meningoencephalitis, which many people usually recover from.
Instead of recovering, Ballard was in a coma for nearly 420 days. When he woke up he had lost the use of his leg but his mom says he still understood everything.
Galvin recalled that he once apologized to Ballard for not stopping him on the night he ate the slug, at which point Ballard broke down in tears.
“His friends have stuck by him ever since. On Friday, Sam passed away, surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates.
“His last words to his mum: ‘I love you’.”
Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone that was close to Sam.