Farrell native DeWayne McCulley learned the hard way that he had Type 2 diabetes.

In March of 2002, the 59-year-old engineer spent almost a whole day in a near-death coma that doctors believe was triggered by McCulley’s sky-rocketing blood glucose level, common in diabetics, but he didn’t even know he was carrying the disease.

“The doctor said I should have died three times over,” he said, adding he later realized he had experienced diabetes-related symptoms.

McCulley, who graduated from Farrell High School in 1967, lives in Rochester, Pa., and spends much of his time researching diabetes and traveling the country to share his experiences and discuss his book “Death to Diabetes.”

He attended Pennsylvania State University’s Shenango Campus in Sharon and main campus in University Park, where he earned an electrical engineering degree in 1971.

After college, McCulley moved to California to work as an aerospace engineer and later for Xerox Corp., where he was employed until three years ago.

His career as an engineer helped him learn more about collecting data and doing research, which he applied to learning more about diabetes after recovering from the coma.

Type 2 diabetics usually prick their finger three to four times a day to measure their blood sugar levels, but McCulley did it eight times a day to collect as much data as possible.

He soon learned his diet made a big difference and he started eating green vegetables for breakfast instead of cereal and ate healthier in general. He also went on a strict exercise program and lost 70 pounds.

He said he was quickly beating the odds that diabetes would make him go blind, lose his legs, shut down his kidneys or kill him like some doctors had predicted.

Just 3è months after the coma, McCulley weaned himself off the insulin he took to control his diabetes. He no longer requires any medicine and considers himself a former diabetic.

Through his book and travels, McCulley wants people to know that diabetes is a common health problem that people can control, but it’s not discussed as much as it should be, especially among family members.

Until McCulley got sick, he didn’t know his grandmother and father had diabetes and it contributed to their deaths.

“This disease is running rampant in the United States of America. It’s an epidemic,” he said.

He urges diabetics to talk more with their doctors, examine their lifestyles, change their bad eating habits and exercise more.

He credits his success to God, church, family, his high school and college professors and growing up in a small town like Farrell.

For more information about McCulley or his book, call 800-813-1927 or visit www.deathtodiabetes.com

Recommended for you