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ICF Branch 439 benefits brave mom

The Italian Catholic Federation’s Our Lady Mother of the Church Branch #439 hosted its sixth annual dinner dance on Oct. 8 at Alta Villa Banquets in Addison. The event raised funds to benefit Maria Vouga and her family, and honored Rocco and Rosanna DeFrenza.

Maria Vougas

Maria is a loving wife to Eric Vougas and the proud mother of four children, Stefanie, Eric, Shannon and Breanna. In 2012, Maria was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis), an autoimmune disorder affecting the central nervous system. This causes inflammation, scar tissue and lesions in the brain and spinal column, making it difficult for the brain to send signals to the rest of the body. It affects different people in different ways.

In Maria’s case, it has caused numbness in her hands, making it difficult to write or hold things. Within a year of being diagnosed she was forced to quit her job at Yankee Candle (a job that she loved) as she could no longer hold on to the glass candles and do what was required. Although she could no longer work, she was still able to drive, do errands, shuffle kids around, etc. However, it wasn’t long before she experienced the most debilitating symptom of all, the inability to walk.

By 2015 she lost her ability to drive and went from using a cane to using a walker. A year later the walker was replaced with a wheelchair. She is now completely housebound and spends her days in a wheelchair. In the meantime, Eric has become Maria’s sole healthcare provider. In doing so, he has missed a substantial amount of work, causing additional financial strain on the family.

Rocco and Rosanna DeFrenza

Rocco and Rosanna DeFrenza are the proud parents of three children, Filippo, Graziella and Salvatore. They have been residents of Elk Grove Village for the past 20 years. Rocco was born in Valenzano, Bari. He is the co-owner, with business partners Savino and Laura D’Argento, of four RoccoVino’s Restaurants located in Harwood Heights, Elk Grove Village, Carol Stream and Orland Park.

Rocco’s business has supported the Easter Seals in honor of his godson, Enzo D’Argento, who was diagnosed with autism at the age of 2. RoccoVino’s hosted its 13th annual fundraiser, which to date has raised $350,000 to help find a cure for autism. His business also supports endless events and fundraisers in all the communities his restaurants are located. Rocco is a member of the Chicagoland Italian American Charitable Organization and also supports his hometown’s patron saint by being an active member of Società San Rocco di Valenzano.

Rosanna was born in Bagheria, Sicily, and is a Real Estate Broker with BHHS American Heritage Real Estate located in Elk Grove Village. She is a corporate trainer and Recruitment Director, in addition to being a Top 10 Sales Agent. Rosanna is involved in many community organizations and currently serves on the Elk Grove Village Zoning Board, and is a member and past President of the Elk Grove Chamber Board. Also, Rosanna is a proud member of the Rotary Club of Elk Grove Village and a past President of the organization as well.

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Fra Noi produces a magazine and website that serve the Chicago-area Italian-American community. Our magazine offers our readers a monthly feast of news and views, culture and entertainment that keeps our diverse and widely scattered readers in touch with each other and their heritage. Our website offers a dizzying array of information drawn from every corner of the local community.