The Girl Who Looked Death in the Eye and Smiled

8 03 2019

#InternationalWomensDay

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

People the world over flee illness and suffering and despise death as an evil that must be avoided at all cost. They feel themselves most unfortunate, even unlucky if ever one or the other should overcome them. Yet, there was a young girl who did not despise and fly from suffering and pain, but even looked death in the eye with a smile, accepting and embracing it as a gentle caress full of affection from a God who loved her so much.

Who was this girl and how did she come to have such uncommon attitude in the face of pain, suffering, even death. What gave her mind to understand that acceptance rather than hatred and rejection are the most effective antibiotics against infecting the soul with bitterness. What were the outcome of these her radical ideas?

Her name was Maria Montse Grases, a young Spaniard who lived in Barcelona. She was only 17 in 1957 when she was diagnosed with a rare and painful bone cancer called Ewing’s sarcoma. In the 50’s   Ewing’s sarcoma was a death sentence.


Maria Montse Grases

 Montse loved life and had an infectious smile straight from the heart. Her eyes shown like diamonds, tall and strong, it seems there was almost always a perpetual smile on her face, a smile that came straight from the heart. Her eyes were kind, friendly and filled with playful mischief.  She was neat and tidy and her clothes reflected style and taste. She especially liked a green plaid skirt that reached her ankles

  She liked sport and music as well as traditional local dances. She was a good athlete, playing basketball, tennis, and ping-pong. But her favorite recreation was outings with friends.

In many sense she was like any other girl; yet, she was unlike many other girls because she radiated an inner charm and her virtues and character made her attractive to all who met her. 

She almost never worried about herself but busied herself taking care of others, she showered love and attention on the needy and suffering; and took her friends to visit poor families and sick people, and she regularly gave religions classes to the local children in parishes, and would sometimes bring them toys and sweets.

 She took great care of her spiritual life of prayers because she loved God with a personal love that was both intimate and filled with reverence.  To her, God was a friend with whom she could share everything, the deepest secrets of her soul, she laid bare to him daily in prayer and anything that worried her.

Like every young woman, she had her personal shortcomings.  Impulsive and brusque at times, she however never compromised with her personal defects, wrestling resolutely against them and struggling to control her occasional ill temper, and be friendly and jovial with everyone.

This greatness of heart shone like a brilliant star when she demonstrated a rare capacity to dedicate herself to something greater than herself. 

When she was 11, her parents came in contact with Opus Dei an institution in the Catholic Church that shows ordinary people how to be holy in the ordinary circumstances of each day. They readily understood the message of Opus Dei and within two years both had joined Opus Dei.

Montse’s parents thought her how to deal with Jesus with confidence, they strove to make her stable companion of Jesus sparing no effort to make it happen.  It was her mother who first suggested she visited a center of Opus Dei, where Christian and human formation is give to young girls. In attending the means of formation given in the center of Opus Dei, she perceived one day God was calling her to serve him as a celibate member of Opus Dei. She was sixteen

After meditating, praying, and seeking advice, she asked to be admitted to Opus Dei. From then on she struggled decisively and with constancy to seek holiness in her daily life. She struggled to be in constant conversation with God, to discover the will of God in the fulfillment of her duties and in caring for little details out of love, and to make life pleasant for those around her. She was able to transmit to many of her relatives and friends the peace that comes from living close to God.

Her brother George soon took notice that Montse had changed. Though externally, she was the same, same dress, she still attended classes on cooking and arts, but her brothers noticed that she was no longer arguing with him, and was more affectionate and tactful. She seemed to have suddenly grown up.

What made her so readily generous with God?  Some people attribute it to her parent’s generosity with God in having a large family. Montse was the second of nine children.

“Me and my wife agreed in everything, ready to start a Christian family, accepting all children God wanted to send.” Her father said.

Ewing’s sarcoma

One day on June 1958, Montse went skiing with friends and injured her leg. The pain was excruciating and won’t go away; her parents took her to a clinic. After lengthy investigations, the doctor took her parent aside, and told them she had a rare kind of bone cancer, causing the great pain she had been experiencing. But worse, it was incurable. She was going to die.

Devastated, her parents wept inconsolably, unable to speak or break the news to her.

Finally, they told her.

“Would it help if they cut the bad leg?” she asked.

“I am afraid my daughter, that will not help.” her sad father said.

To her parents surprise she brightened up and began singing a Mexican song and that night, as her mother recalled slept soundly.

Little by little, her illness got worse though, and she spent many a sleepless night squirming in pain; the treatment made her suffer a lot. Her pain increased to the point of being almost unbearable. From February 16th on, her leg was so swollen up to the hip that her skin began to crack.

Treating the leg was terribly painful. But instead of complaining, she hummed a song. She always had an affectionate word for those who treated her leg, even though they couldn’t help hurting her.

She couldn’t eat. To take anything was a real torture. Since she couldn’t swallow anything, she sucked on a piece of ice for refreshment. She usually commented that she was a coward because she was afraid the suffering would come.  

Jesus was afraid to die?

At first, she naturally was afraid to die. One day she said to a friend: “I’m afraid of dying, because I’m afraid to be alone.”

Her friend tried to encourage her by mentioning the scene of Jesus in Gethsemane was afraid to die.

“Jesus was afraid to die?” She exclaimed, astonished that she hadn’t thought about that before. Joy flooded into her heart.

“What joy to find myself afraid together with Jesus,” Montse exclaimed ecstatically clasping her hands, her face radiant with peace and joy.

 “Together with Jesus I will face death happily!”

The end drew to a close rapidly however.  At the beginning of March they had to call the doctor quickly because. Montse had such a weak pulse that it was hardly noticeable.

The doctor, when he took her pulse couldn’t hide his concern that was noticed by all. Montse broke the anguished silence by picking up the doctor’s bag from the bed and saying: “Mama, have you seen this strange bag?”

This made everyone smile.

She grew much worse. They thought the moment had arrived to give her the Blessing of the Sick. She also thought it would be good to have it as soon as possible. A priest of Opus Dei administered this sacrament. Montse followed the ritual with great devotion, showing no sadness. Every once in a while she smiled at her mother who knelt at the foot of the bed.

On March 18, eve of the feast of St. Joseph, it seemed that the hour of her death had arrived. Montse was very happy.

“How do I look,” she asked those who were staying with her.

 “All right,” someone answered. Montse wanted them to say, “Worse.” And when asked, “How do you feel?” she answered unenthusiastically, “Me? Fine; just look.” The clock struck eleven, and she asked, “What time is it? Am I still here?”

At twelve she was asked, “Montse, do you want to pray?”

 They said the Angelus. At that moment she was more awake, and she said: “Do you know what I think? I’m not going to worry any more. When God wants, he’ll take me.”

Soon to Heaven

St. Joseph’s day passed, and her general condition improved somewhat. The doctor came to see her and Montse asked later: “What did he say? What’s happening? Aren’t I going?”

“He said you might go at any moment,” they answered.

 “Can you imagine? Soon to Heaven, soon to Heaven! Will you let me go?” she exclaimed happily, hugging the person who had told her the doctor’s comment.

Little by little she weakened. The nights were the worst. A continuous sweat left her exhausted. She became very thirsty and felt suffocated. The night before her death, Montse wanted to say something. But in spite of the effort she made no one could understand her. Early in the morning of that Holy Thursday, March 26, 1959, the directress of the Opus Dei house that she attended was close to her bed, and Montse asked her to say aspirations since she herself couldn’t talk anymore. About ten o’clock she tried to sit up to see the picture of the Blessed Virgin Mary that she had in front of her bed.

She whispered: “How much I love you. When are you coming to take me?” These were her last words. Her life ebbed away little by little.

At noon, those who were with her prayed the Angelus. She must have followed it with her heart. It was her last glance toward the One she loved so much, and to whom she had said so many things during her lifetime. Those who were with her began to say the Rosary in a soft voice, and they had just finished the first mystery when Montse died

Montserrat Graces, an 18 year old girl when she died on March 25, 1959 and was recently declared venerable by Pope Francis. She is a model for all women on women’s day. 





Big Brother Naija Trojan horse

4 03 2019

by Chinwuba Iyizoba

They came in 2006 selling the story of a talent hunt but sold Nigerians a Trojan horse.

BBNnaija 2019 audition venue was like a scene from world war Z. Crowds of indigent youths thronged the venue pleading and wailing, crushed against iron railings, some broke their legs, and all were desperate to get in. They clawed their way coveting the $100k prize money, a ticket out of poverty worth dying for. Yet the big brother show is a rip off.

BBNaija 2019 audition
Crowds of Nigerian youths at BBNaija 2019 audition

The show is about 12 contestants living in an isolated house for 90 days, competing for a winner takes-it-all star prize by avoiding eviction. To please viewer to vote “stay” they must shed all dignity, self-respect and modesty, even engaging in explicit sex while the camera rolls.

Sex sells

With big colored eye on profit, the producers encourage sexual experimentation among the housemates on every episode, often plying them alcohol to loosen things up, and supplying cartons of condoms. BBNaija portrays sex as casual and consequence-free to minors who watch these episodes.

“Just as we read specific books and show educational movies to our children in hopes that they learn lessons from the characters, teens are more likely to have sex after being exposed to sexual content in the media,” says Dr. Carolyn Ross on Psychology Today

Parents who allow their teens to watch BBNaija shouldn’t be surprised if they begin having sex, and perhaps even high-risk sex and catching sexually transmitted diseases and becoming pregnant. They may even become sex addicts.

Early exposure to pornography (or explicit sexual content on television), says Dr. Ross, is a risk factor for sex addictions and other intimacy disorders. In one study of 932 sex addicts, 90 percent of men and 77 percent of women reported that pornography was a factor in their addiction.

In 2018, having interviewed Christians and Muslims, the Nigerian Vanguard wrote a good piece of the harmful effect of the show, denouncing it’s deviation to open immorality. Yet, the show goes on, and so many poor young people across the nation besieged the audition venues seeking last month, while families’ lap up episode after episode.

Follow the money.

The money comes from the evictions.  Every week when different housemate are placed on eviction, and the public use their money to vote them back in.  The votes come in millions. During one of recent BBNaija finale, it was reported that 170 Million votes were cast via text messages that cost N30. If you do the math, that is approximately $14M earned by the organizers.  

Gifty Brian Ajumobi ex-house mate

Since it is winner take all, all but the one winner gets paid while others walk away, broken, sold and scared and some never manage to pick up the broken pieces. (There are many unwed mothers’ among the ex-housemates.) Many of the used young ladies can’t find husbands, some like ex-house mate, Gift Brian Ajumobi, has multiple sex partners and children out of wedlock and is presently embroiled in paternity suites.

All in the name of entertainment

Whatever happened to the Nigerian family sense of modesty so admired by the world a few years ago? Now we pay to watch our youths feed, play and copulate. How diabolically naive we have become. Are we waiting for same-sex fornications and bestiality to add to the fun?

Parents and families should wake up and throw out this Trojan horse in their midst. A society willing to compromise its value and honor is a society without value and honor.

 It’s unfortunate that Atiku Abubaker who recently lost the presidential election, in a bid to garner popularity among the young, tweeted a congratulatory message to last year’s BBNaija winner.

Educators, writers, politicians and legislators must keep in mind that a great part of social and even personal problems has its roots in the failure or the collapse of family life. To fight against juvenile delinquency or against the prostitution of women and at the same time to favor the discrediting or deterioration of the institution of the family is both senseless and contradictory.

In spite of the obvious and genuine harm done by this show, we see no protests, families carrying placard and politicians debating on how to proscribe the show or prosecute their promoters, rather viewing statistics are spiking and more and more young people turn up each year for auditions.

It must be understood that the role of parents and families in social and political life cannot be merely passive. They themselves must be ‘the first to take steps to see that the laws and institutions of the State, films and reality TV’s do not offend, but support and positively enhance family life and welfare of minors

Nigerians should reject this show, looking for disruptive ways to ensure that those who insist on promoting this heist stop making money. They should also besiege the news media with the reports of the negative influences on children, calling out the promoters and exposing their true agenda.

On the other hand, families should support and promote family friendly TV shows that teach skills, virtues and discipline to children.





Billion Dollar Couple Divorce: What about the Children?

16 01 2019

The 55yrs old billionaire and owner of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, is divorcing his wife of 25yrs and mother of his 3 sons and an adopted daughter from China.

He is now in a relationship with a twice divorced woman and mother of 3, 49yrs old Lauren Sanchez, whom he met through her husband. Sanchez herself is ditching her husband of many years for Jeff and his billions.

Social media is abuzz and experts are speculating breathlessly about how the billions will be split (137billion), and who gets what. Tabloids are spewing steamy headlines to make the most from the sordid affair. Yet, they skip the hard questions: what about the children?

Studies show that children are significantly affected by the parents’ divorce. The upheaval in their lives a serious and demands they be protected by the state.

Adult children of divorce are more likely than children raised in intact families to be fearful of intimacy, according to Judith Wallerstein. They are especially fearful of commitment, often remaining on the brink of marriage in cohabitation arrangements. Their thinking: “I don’t want to happen to me what happened to my parents.” If they do marry, they tend to fear and avoid having children. Their thinking: “I wouldn’t want to inflict on my kids what my parents inflicted on me.”

Most of them never saw their parents’ divorce coming. They remember that, as children, when they were enjoying themselves, their parents one day called them together and said, “We have something to tell you…” Now, as adults, when they are supposed to be enjoying themselves, they are waiting anxiously for the other shoe to drop.

By every measure of flourishing known to social science, children of divorce do noticeably poorer than children raised in intact families: higher incidence of school drop-out, drug use, sexual acting out and teen pregnancy, need for the mental health profession and for anti-depressants.

In a better world, the outcry and condemnation of this brazen disregard for the children’s welfare would have carried across the globe. As always the Catholic Church remains the sole voice of sanity in a deranged world, proclaiming boldly that divorce is immoral…because it introduces disorder into the family and into society. This disorder brings grave harm to the deserted spouse, to children traumatized by the separation of their parents and often torn between them, and because of its contagious effect which makes it truly a plague on society (CCC 2385).

One you-tuber commented, “Marriage is for suckers cucks and simps” and another wrote, “I’m not getting married until this freakshow stops!” While many scoff at women, calling them names like, witch, suckers and the likes. It is clear confirmation of the damage divorce does to the fabric of society and the psych of the youths.

In a world gone insane walking the cliff edge, marital vows are not worth the paper they are written on; promises are no longer meant to be kept; dishonor is honorable; serial polygamy is fashion. Truly, the words from W.B Yeats’ poem, the ‘Second Coming’ are prophetic for our world today, ‘Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold’. A sad prophesy of the future of our world, cut adrift from sense and reason, drifting aimlessly in uncharted waters of moral and marital relativism. Yet many call it progress.

But as St Josemaria, the founder of Opus Dei said, “I want you to think about how evil has prospered. All over this field of God, which is the world – Christ’s inheritance – there are weeds. Not just a few weeds: vast quantities of them! I want you to be aware of this, so that you may never be deceived by the myth of constant, irreversible progress. Understand what I mean: progress, when it is properly directed, is good, and God wants it. However, there is a kind of progress that blinds all sorts of people, who fail to see that in some areas mankind sometimes goes backwards and loses ground previously gained

Chinwuba Iyizoba





This Baby is From God says a Mother Who Conceived in Rape

14 12 2018

People believe that God’s love should shield from evil and injustice. That is understandable, but sometimes God allows evil, to test our love for him and so that a greater good may come.

This is far and away the most awesome article I have read for a while about human greatness and capacity to forgive. Do yourself a favor and read the whole article and watch the whole video, it is worth 20 mins of your time.
According to spuc.org.uk, a mother who became pregnant after being violently raped has said that her son is a gift from God. Speaking at a pro-life rally on Sunday, Jennifer Christie recounted how, while working away from home, she was violently assaulted on the way back to her hotel room. The attack left her with broken fingers and ribs, and the internal injuries were so severe she needed six major surgeries. She also suffered a bleed on the brain – which means she now has epilepsy. Six weeks later, she found out she was pregnant.

Jennifer had been living in an “unrecognisable world” of “darkness and pain”, but when she saw the baby’s heartbeat on the ultrasound, “for the first time since I had been raped, I felt that life inside me again…that little flicker on the screen was to me hope and joy and light.”

Her husband Jeff was immediately supportive of her need to give birth to the baby, telling her: “this is a gift. This baby is something beautiful out of something so terrible and so painful.”

The Christies’ testimony challenged the assumptions usually made about women who conceive babies through rape. Jennifer said: “People will tell you that a raped woman who conceives will feel rage and anger and disgust towards her baby, and I’ve spoken to hundreds and hundreds of women, and that is just not true.” When Jeff is asked how he can bring up a “rapist’s baby” as is own, he says: “My answer is, I don’t know what it’s like to raise a rapist’s child. Because I’m raising our child, and he’s been our child from the beginning.”

One of the main reasons people advise abortion for women in this awful situation is that the baby will be a reminder of the attack, and of the rapist. However, Jennifer says that no woman who has been raped is going to forget it, whether she has the baby or not. “When people ask me if he is a reminder, I tell them honestly…he is a reminder that good can come from evil, every time. He is a reminder that love is always stronger than hate. He is a reminder that love wins. He is a reminder that who we become as human beings is not determined by how we start.”

“We loved you louder.”
She said that when her son is older, they will tell him that he brought healing to the family. “We’re going to tell him that there were all these people screaming at us that you should not be here, that you are a child from rape, that you do not deserve to be here. And those voices were loud, but we loved you louder.”

Speaking to press, Jennifer said that she was not there to judge women, but to tell those who suffer in the same way she did that “the path to healing and wholeness is not found through more violence and trauma.”

The large crowd gathered outside Parliament to hear the Christies included former Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi. Life Network Foundation chairperson Miriam Sciberas said that the March was an ideal opportunity to let politicians know that society wanted to protect the life of the unborn, and that life started from conception. The powerful testimony of Jennifer and Jeff Christie is sure to inspire pro-lifers in Malta and across the world.

Jennifer and her husband passed God’s test with flying colors, perfect in their response of self surrender and totally accepting the child from this great evil they have gained immense holiness in God’s sight and their blessings will be as uncountable as sands of the sea shore.

If you like this article please follow and subscribe to spuc.org.uk and consider supporting them with your donation. Thanks.

Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor Authors-choice





Mom Loses Leg Jumping from 3rd Floor to Save Baby

25 11 2018

Sometimes people think that true love is when two people have flowing hormones and racing hearts when they are together. But the ancients say that true love is sacrifice and that to love is to suffer. And the Holy writ says that greater love has no man than he who lays down his life for another.

A most striking example of this true love happened in Massachusetts last week.

Christina Simoes, a 23-year-old mom from Massachusetts, was left unable to use her legs after jumping from her home – on the third floor of her building – to save her 18-month-old son from a raging fire.

According to aleteia. org, She and her son Camron, 18 months old, were trapped in her bedroom when a terrible fire broke out in their building. She could not wait for help to come; there was no time. She realized immediately that the only possible way out was through the window.

She took the child in her arms and jumped. The fall was more than 30 feet, so Christina tried to cushion the fall with her body, using her arms to protect her son. The little one was unharmed, but Christina broke several vertebrae and lost feeling in her legs immediately upon impact. With superhuman strength, in her injured condition, Christina managed to drag the little one out of reach of the burning debris that was beginning to fall. Shortly after, the two were found and taken to a nearby hospital.

Asked how she had the courage to do it, she affirmed that she could think of no better way to make sense of her life than to save her little one’s. She has given him life, for the second time.

“I kissed him, I told him I loved him and I jumped with him out the window.”
“I would do it again, of course. All the pain I have to go through now is worth it to see my son run around safe and sound,” she told interviewers.

This not only the best description of true love, but also a powerful pointer to how God’ s love is explicit in Jesus Christ who gave his life on the Cross to save mankind from eternal damnation.
You can read the entire article here





Man Accused of Assault by Ex-girlfriend Saved by a Selfie!

18 11 2018

Bearing false witness against a neighbor is expressly condemned by Holy writ because of the grave consequences and injury to a good name. The saga that happened in Texas last week confirms the wisdom of Holy book in condemning this sin, and brings out in a graphic way the terrible consequences of calumny.

According to the Washington post, when 21-year-old Christopher Precopia met with a recruiter to enlist in the U.S. Army in October, he was rejected because of the violent offense for which he had been charged last year.

Precopia, of Williamson County, Tex., was arrested Sept. 22, 2017, after his ex-girlfriend told police that he’d broken into her home and assaulted her — using a box cutter to carve an “X” just below her neck, Texas ABC affiliate KVUE reported.

Except there was one problem: Precopia didn’t do it.

In oral and written statements to police, his accuser detailed how Precopia had forced his way into her home, pushing her to the ground before punching her in the face and slicing her with the box cutter.

That was news to Precopia.

He was given minimal information when police took him into custody, according to defense attorney Rick Flores.

When Precopia asked police why he was being arrested, Flores says police told his client, “Don’t act like you don’t know.”

And when police said they had a warrant for his arrest in Bell County, Flores said Precopia’s response was: “Where is Bell County?”

He was charged with burglary of a habitation with the intent to commit other crimes, a felony offense that carries the possibility of a life sentence.

“I had no idea who accused me of this; I had no idea why everything was happening,” Precopia told KVUE. “I was constantly fearful as to what could happen the next day . . . I was going to sleep hoping I wouldn’t wake up, just to get away from it.”

After he spent more than a day in jail, Precopia’s parents took out loans to post his $150,000 bond and pay for a lawyer in an effort to prove their son was innocent, Flores said.

As Precopia’s family worked to clear his name, his mother, Erin, realized she possessed a piece of evidence that could exonerate him: a selfie taken at 7:02 p.m. on Sept. 20, 2017, at the Renaissance Austin Hotel.

His accuser had told police that she was attacked by Precopia at 7:20 p.m. that same day in her Bell County home, nearly 70 miles away in Temple. Cellphone towers also helped pinpoint Precopia’s actual location, Flores said.

“He was very fortunate that she chose a date and time that he just happened to have a rock-solid alibi for,” Flores said. “He and I have talked many times about how lucky he is, whether you believe in a higher power or good old-fashioned luck.”

If his accuser had claimed that the attack had taken place the day before or after, Flores said, his client’s only excuse would have been that he was sitting at home watching TV — a much less convincing alibi.

The charge was dropped on June 21 after Flores took the evidence to the Bell County District Attorney’s Office, he said.

“We were able to corroborate the basis of what was presented to us, and in due course, we determined the proper action was to dismiss the charge, and that’s what we proceeded to do,” Bell County District Attorney Henry Garza said in an interview Thursday.

Garza added that the Bell County Attorney’s Office will ultimately determine if charges will be made against Precopia’s accuser for making a false statement. KVUE reported Tuesday that Precopia’s accuser has not been charged with a crime.

The Temple Police Department did not return a call Thursday afternoon requesting comment on the case.

Up until the charge was dropped, Flores said Precopia and his family were terrified for his future. While they are not planning any civil action against the police department, Flores said the family is exploring lawsuit against his accuser.

His accuser told police that the two had a “troubled” relationship in high school, which she cited as the reason she reported that Precopia assaulted her, according to KVUE. Flores said he had not spoken with the accuser and could not comment on this allegation.

“His entire family had trouble sleeping at night, wondering what was going to happen, if anyone would believe them, if there would be a trial, prison time or a life sentence,” Flores said, adding he doesn’t blame police for taking action on the accuser’s allegations.

“We’re more upset with this person that blatantly made up a lie and got him in this mess to begin with,” he said.

Even though Precopia’s name was cleared, he and his family now wonder how the accusation will impact him moving forward.

“While [his family] is happy it ended up with a dismissal, and that it will be expunged from his record, the damage is kind of done,” Flores said. “Nothing will ever be completely scrubbed from the Internet.”

Flores pointed to Precopia’s encounter with the Army recruiter as “a small example of how this will follow him around forever.”

He added that Precopia’s application to enlist is “currently being reviewed by someone higher up at the U.S. Army.”

This young man’s life was about to go south but for the hands of God or luck if you like. Yet many people aren’t that lucky and have had their good names irretrievably damaged by false accusations. So when next you hear someone bad-mouthing another without any evidence, please do not hesitate to shun that person and teach him that bearing false witness harms others.





Lessons from the Boy who died after swallowing a snail

11 11 2018

To impress his mates, a young boy swallowed a garden snail and died.

According to Fox News, the teenager from Sydney’s upper north shore was having a laugh and some red wine with mates in the backyard, “trying to act like grown-ups”.

It was 2010 and it was a night that would change his life, and the lives of everybody around him, forever.

A slug crawled across the concrete patio and, teens being teens, a dare emerged for Sam to eat it.

One of his best friends, Jimmy Galvin, later described the moment.

“We were sitting over here having a bit of a red wine appreciation night, trying to act as grown-ups and a slug came crawling across here,” he said.

“The conversation came up, you know. ‘Should I eat it?’ And off Sam went. Bang. That’s how it happened.”

He didn’t become sick immediately, but complained of serious pain in his legs in the days after.

He was worried it might’ve been a symptom of eating the slug, but his mother told him not to worry: “No one gets sick from that,” she said.

Sam was worried he might have developed multiple sclerosis, like his father, but that was ruled out.

Doctors later determined Sam was infected with rat lungworm.

The worm that infected Sam is usually found in rodents, but snails and slugs can also become infected when they eat rat feces.

Sam contracted eosinophilic meningo-encephalitis, which many people recover from. Sam didn’t.

He fell into a coma for 420 days and, when he woke, he had acquired a brain injury.

Last week, eight years after he fell ill, Sam died. “The Sunday Project’s” Lisa Wilkinson broke the news during a somber but brief segment.

“We have some sad news for you now. Earlier this year we brought you the story of Sam Ballard who, on a dare from his mates, ate a slug. He contracted rat lung disease with devastating effects,” Wilkinson said.

“His friends have stuck by him ever since. On Friday, Sam passed away surrounded by his family and loyal, loving mates.

“His last words to his mom: ‘I love you’.”

Katie Ballard, Sam’s mother, described how hard life had been for Sam. He couldn’t eat for himself and needed help going to the bathroom.

While he was initially unable to move his limbs, the former Barker College student worked hard to regain some movement.

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

Galvin said he apologized to Sam for not stopping him that night in 2010. When he did, the former rugby standout “just started bawling his eyes out”.

In a way, Sam’s story bears a sad similarity to the way sin acts in our lives. We often do what we know we ought not do because we want to be rich and famous or desire to stand out and have our way, pushing aside the laws of God and good sense, yet it ultimately leads to our death. Sam’ s reckless action, spurred by pride and vanity, kicking aside good sense of hygiene, took his his life. Yet, friends who challenged and cheered him on, were hopelessly unable to help as his life ebbed away. Sad for his parents, life has played a very dirty trick on them; a lesson for all about the dangers of pride and honor seeking, contrary to good sense.

Article by Chinwuba Iyizoba

Editor








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