Man paralysed by backyard slug dies after eight years

Sam Ballard has passed away eight years after eating a slug that left him paralysed. Image 7 NewsMore

When Sam Ballard's friends dared him to eat a slug that was crawling across the patio in 2010, the 19-year-old accepted the challenge without a second thought. It's no surprise they were there - they never left his side.

Over the years, his friends continued to spend time with him and have helped in fundraising efforts. "Katie tells me the room was so full of love".

The agony of Sam lasted for nine years. The news was reported by Lisa Wilkinson, an anchor for The Sunday Project.

Ballard passed away at a Sydney hospital and was with 20 of his family and closest friends, according to TV host Lisa Wilkinson yesterday, November 5.

His funeral is set to take place this Thursday.

"On Friday, Sam passed away, surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates", she said.

Sam Ballard with his friends before the tragedy.

Galvin said he apologized for not stopping his friend from eating the worm that night.

"They made a mistake, a spur of the moment muck around of unforeseen consequences that should not define them".

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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 was the life of the party during the North Sydney golden era", one of them reads. Bang. That's how it happened, " Sam's friend, Jimmy Galvin, told News.com.au. The conversation came, 'should I eat it?' Off Sam went.

The teenager then faced more struggles, as he became paralysed and was unable to eat or go to the bathroom by himself.

Earlier this year we brought you the story of Sam Ballard who, on a dare from his mates, ate a slug.

The avid rugby player didn't get sick right away, but began to complain about severe pain in his legs days later.

She was reassuring, but doctors soon discovered that a rare condition was taking hold of the young man's body.

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. He contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis ― a form of meningitis ― and fell into a coma that lasted 420 days. His mother reassured him that nothing was wrong.

When his friends visited, they said his face lit up and he was very much "still there". Ultimately, it killed him. The woman hoped to the last that his son will recover and walk.

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