Last words of Sydney man who died after eating slug for dare

Sam Ballard, 28, spent three years in hospital after eating the garden slug at a party in 2010, when he was just 19.

Sam Ballard never did anything wrong, if you ask family and friends.

He said: "We were sitting, having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across". After some banter, the then 19-year-old ate it.

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

The conversation came up, you know. Bang. That's how it happened'.

None more so than the remarkable Sam Ballard.

He didn't become sick immediately, but complained of serious pain in his legs in the days after. Fearing it could have been Multiple Sclerosis (MS) like what his father had, Sam's mother took him to the doctor.

Unfortunately, doctors soon discovered that he was infected with rat lungworm, a parasite usually found in rodents.

He contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which some people recover from.

He contracted eosinophilic meningoencephalitis and fell into a coma for 420 days.

Katie Ballard with her Sam who was left severely disabled after contracting meningitis and was in a coma for over 400 days.

Sam Ballard has died aged 28 after an eight year battle.

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To Katie, we can only begin to imagine the pain you are going through.

His mother, Katie Ballard, noted that while he was initially unable to move, he later regained some movement. And their love and support for Sam has never wavered in the years since.

Katie had said "he understands" everything, and his mates know that was true.

Mr Ballard died on Friday night at the age of 29.

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". "It was a big shock". That was when a dare came up for one of them to eat the creature.

"It made his day", his mates said.

Before the accident, Katie described her son as a "invincible". But your love and care for Sam will long stand as a testament to the power of parental love. "He spent the afternoon laughing at me as I read him the sports section of the newspaper with new glasses on".

And for nearly nine years, Sam's handsome angel of a mum Katie has been right by Sam's side as his chief carer, never wavering in her love; feeding him, wheeling him, driving him, getting him bathed and toileted, organising doctor and hospital visits, always trying to find the lighter moments so she could see her boy smile again, waking at every sound in the night, always making sure Sam's friends felt welcomed in his new, limited world. It's huge. The impact is huge, ' she said.

Katie applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in 2016 and Sam was granted a AUD $492,000 package.

There have been plenty of column inches written over recent months about the many exclusive superstar interviews we've worked hard to secure for our Sunday Project viewers this year.

. Media coverage and the family's fight for additional funding and care saw the decision reversed.

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