The mother of a man, Sam Ballard who after swallowing a parasite-infected slug became paralyzed during a dare, is fighting to have the government restore his recently-cut benefits for medical care.
At the age of 19, Sam Ballard, fell ill after eating a garden slug while at a friend’s party in Sydney, Australia, in 2010.
He was rushed to a hospital, where he slipped into a coma, reports say.
“Some children, in particular, have gotten infected by swallowing snails/slugs ‘on a dare,’” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported.
Though the CDC notes those who come into contact with the disease typically recover fully without treatment, Ballard was in a coma for more than a year and is now quadriplegic.
Unable to communicate or care for himself, Ballard requires around-the-clock care to help him with basic functions.
He lives with a tracheostomy tube in place, suffers from seizures and cannot maintain a consistent temperature. His breathing must also be monitored, as a cough can cause him to choke to death, reports say.
“It’s devastated, changed his life forever, changed my life forever,” his mother, Katie Ballard, said. “It’s huge. The impact is huge.”
His mother applied to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, and Ballard was deemed eligible for $492,000 in 2016.
But in September, Katie Ballard said she received a text from the government agency to view her son’s account, which had been cut to just $188,600.
No explanation was given to Katie Ballard, who said the cut has left the family in massive debt.
After pushing for a meeting with NDIS, Katie Ballard was able to sit down with officials last month.
“A resolution to this matter, which includes an increase to Sam’s support package, is imminent,” an NDIS spokesperson said.