In 2010, 19-year-old Sam, an avid rugby player, was drinking with Jimmy Galvin and several more of his Australian “mates” when a slug began crawling across Galvin’s concrete patio at his home in Sydney.
“And then the conversation came up, ‘Should I eat it?’ ” recalled Galvin, talking to Lisa Wilkinson of “The Sunday Project” that airs on Australia’s Network 10. “And then off Sam went and bang, that’s how it happened.”
After downing the slug, Sam became weak and complained of severe pain in his legs, according to “The Sunday Project.” Sam’s mother, Katie Ballard, told the news show that at first they worried he might have multiple sclerosis, which had afflicted her husband. But doctors said no, that wasn’t the cause.
Soon, doctors told them Sam had developed rat lungworm disease from the infected slug, changing his life forever. Most cases of rat lungworm disease are typically mild. But in some cases, like Sam’s, the disease can cause catastrophic damage. Sam fell into a coma for over a year and woke up paralyzed, requiring care 24 hours a day.
Late last week, Sam died, “The Sunday Project’s” Wilkinson wrote in a blog post.
“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