A grieving mother is trying to raise money after government funds were slashed for her son who tragically became a paraplegic after a party stunt went wrong.
In 2010 Sydney rugby player Sam Ballard, now 28, was dared to swallow a garden slug at a friend’s party.
Soon after Mr Ballard fell ill and was told by doctors he had been infected with rat lungworm, News.com.au reported.
Before the accident Mr Ballard’s mother Katie described her son Sam (pictured) as a ‘larrikin’ but ‘invincible’
A grieving mother is trying to raise money for her son who tragically became a paraplegic after a party stunt went wrong
The worm is commonly found in rats but snails or slugs can be infected when they eat rodent droppings.
Rarely the parasite Angiostrongylus cantonensis causes an infection on the brain.
Tragically Mr Ballard contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis and lapsed into a coma for 420 days.
Before the accident Mr Ballard’s mother Katie described her son as a ‘larrikin’ but ‘invincible’.
In a Facebook post from 2011, Ms Ballard said she hoped her son would walk again.
‘Sam is doing really well. He is still the same cheeky Sam, and laughs a lot. He will walk and talk again (thank god) but the time factor is was we don’t know,’ she wrote.
Mr Ballard was released from hospital in a wheelchair, three years after he fell ill
She later said the accident completely changed his life.
‘It’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever. It’s huge. The impact is huge,’ she said.
Mr Ballard was released from hospital in a wheelchair, three years after he fell ill.
Now aged 28, Mr Ballard is tube fed, suffers seizures and struggles to control his body temperate.
In 2016 his mother applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme when her son became eligible for a $492,000 grant.
But late last year the grant was slashed to around $135,000.
With Mr Ballard needing 24-hour care their family are heavily in debt and owe a nursing service $42,000.
The National Disability Insurance Scheme told The Daily Telegraph they are ‘working closely with the Ballard family’ to increase the grant.