'The conversation came up: "Should I eat it?" off Sam went.
'I hope the friends that were with him when he swallowed the slug, especially the one who dared him, ' one tribute read. "We were sitting over here, having a bit of red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups", recalled Galvin in a video interview earlier this year with Lisa Wilkinson of the Sunday Project, a current affairs talk show that airs on Network 10 in Australia.
Sam Ballard, the Sydney man who fell into a coma and became paralysed after eating a slug, has tragically died eight years on. Newlyweds contract rare brain parasite during Hawaiian honeymoon Humans can be infected if they eat the raw or undercooked contaminated animals, or vegetables carrying unseen snails or slugs that have not been thoroughly washed before consumption.
Shortly afterwards, Ballard slipped into a coma for 420 days, became paralyzed and suffered severe brain trauma. Wilkinson writes, "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".
"We have some sad news for you now".
While a tragedy like this might make some parents resentful, Katie did not hold a grudge against the friend who dared her son to eat the slug. "He contracted rat lung disease with devastating effects", Wilkinson said. "Sam passed away on Friday morning at Hornsby Hospital, not far from where he grew up, surrounded by 20 of those he most loved in the world", she wrote. "He just started bawling his eyes out, so I know he's there".
"So you know he's there", Mr Galvin said.
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Michael Sheasby, a friend of Sam, says seeing him in hospital for the first time after the accident was a "big shock".
Although he was unable to speak, "when his friends visited, they said his face lit up and he was very much "still there", News.com.au reports.
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. His mother reassured him that nothing was wrong.
"He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot", she wrote. It's huge. The impact is huge, ' she said.
Katie spent years fighting for adequate care for Sam after 2010.
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. As a result of media coverage, the decision was later reversed, according to the Grafton Daily Examiner.