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Curran plans fundraiser at Hard Rock Cafe this weekend

Brookwood grad Rennie Curran, a former standout linebacker at Georgia who has played with Tennessee and Tampa Bay in the NFL, will host a fundraiser this weekend to help his parents' native country.

The 24-year-old, along with global health organization MAP International, is behind Saturday's Art and Athletes 4 Action, a sports-themed art auction and reception at Atlanta's Hard Rock Cafe that will benefit the fight against the Buruli ulcer, a chronic, debilitating skin disease in Liberia. Curran's parents fled Liberia in the 1980s to escape civil unrest and build a better life for their children.

Curran fulfilled a life-long dream in 2011 when he visited his parents' native country, which is plagued by the Buruli ulcer, a condition that can disfigure and disable its victims. Nearly half of those with the ulcer are under the age of 15, but 80 percent of cases detected early can be cured with a combination of antibiotics.

"My dream is to raise awareness of Liberia and support the country's efforts to deal with critical challenges like health care and in particular, Buruli ulcer," Curran said. "Liberia has a rich history and natural beauty few people know about."

Saturday's event, from 5 to 8 p.m., will feature the work of Georgia sports artist Dylan Ross for auction and appearances by prominent athletes, including Parkview grad and Kansas City Royals outfielder Jeff Francoeur, former Atlanta Falcons linebacker Jessie Tuggle and current Atlanta Falcons defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, a Central Gwinnett grad. Former Georgia Bulldogs Mohamed Massaquoi (currently with the Cleveland Browns), Geno Atkins (Cincinnati Bengals) and Orson Charles (Cincinnati Bengals) also are expected to attend. Fans will have the opportunity to meet those athletes and have a picture taken.

The fundraiser is open to the public and admission is $25 per person. For more information about the auction, contact Katie Connor at kconnor@map.org.