Rocco was diagnosed with MS in late 2016, after he experienced a temporary paralysis on one side of his body. Since then, Rocco has been fortunate enough to visit the best doctors in the US and is on a strict diet and medication regiment that is expected to stop the disease’s progression. There are millions, however, who are not as fortunate and continue to struggle every day with finding effective treatment options.
“Coming to terms with my diagnosis wasn’t easy,” said Mangel. “From my research, I realized that MS is often a misunderstood disease- people need help understanding what they are up against. As a person living with MS, I want newly diagnosed people to realize they have power over MS and assist them in finding the resources they need to proactively manage their disease. I’ve set an ambitious goal to help eradicate MS because I know that with support from people like you, we can get there. The money raised will help fund amazing progress in MS research, as well as services that ensure people affected by MS can live their best lives. This cause is really important to me, so I hope you will help me end MS forever.”
Born and raised in New York, Rocco grew up in the restaurant business. In 2007, he opened the first Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, as co-owner and managing partner with Big Time Restaurant Group. Rocco has since opened locations in Boca Raton, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach Gardens, Orlando, Delray Beach, Tampa, and Naples; In 2019, the brand also expanded to Hollywood/Fort Lauderdale International Airport.
Above everything else, Rocco is a devoted father and a successful philanthropist. In 2017, Rocco announced that he was living with Multiple Sclerosis. Serving as a voice for MS, Rocco has raised more than $500,000 for the National MS Society, and in 2018 he received the organization’s prestigious Hope Award. Prior to his work with the Society, he raised $250,000 for breast cancer research. He sits on the board of the Police Athletic League in West Palm Beach, and has contributed time and money to the ALS Association, Leukemia/Lymphoma Society, Toys for Tots, Tri-County Humane Society, March of Dimes, Palm Beach Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and other organizations.