Story Video: Click here
Rocco Mangel, well known for his popular chain of Rocco's Tacos restaurants, was working on opening two new restaurants across the state when he got disturbing news last September.
"Wheelchair, I automatically thought I was going to be disabled," says Mangel.
The 43-year-old single father who's made quite a name for himself in South Florida never thought he would hear the news that came four months ago.
Numbness in one side of his body, a tingle in the other and sleepless nights led to the discovery that he has Multiple Sclerosis. It's a disease without a cure that attacks the central nervous system and leaves many of its victims with fatigue, aches and pains.
"I feel like that pretty much every day," Mangel says.
It stopped Rocco in his tracks. For the first time this businessman was in uncharted territory. With a lot of research and second opinions though he was able to dispel misconceptions and take a new path. Rocco went public for the first time and took his campaign from business to business on Clematis Street in hopes of raising awareness.
Businesses are promoting a walk to find a cure. Rocco is joining forces with the MS Society in a few weeks in hopes that taking each step forward, this community can gain a better understanding of what he and 400,000 others in this country live with every day.
"There are certain things I do in my life now that I don't take for granted," says Rocco. He says he now watches the sun rise every morning.
Part of his public awareness came from a social media video with his daughter Charley. Nearly half a million people have seen it. It's a new endeavor for a tough guy fighting the toughest battle of his life.
"This is a terminal illness, there's no cure so I took what I have and embraced it. I want to make a difference for this little girl that looks up to me," says Rocco.
The MS society is hosting a fundraising walk Feb. 26 in downtown West Palm Beach at the waterfront. Rocco is teaming up with to create a world free of MS. For more information on the event and if you want to join "Team Rocco" click here.
Scripps Only Content 2017