MX for Children helmet auction

Signed Ryan Dungey helmet up for grabs. mxforchildren.org

For the fourth year in a row, MX for Children's Giving Thanks charity event has teamed up with moto- and supercross pros for an eBay auction to raise money for children's hospitals throughout the country, with the specific intent of boosting research and awareness for hydrocephalous, a brain disease that affects one in 500 children.

Ryan Dungey, Trey Canard, Asley Fiolek, Bret Metcalfe, and Nick Wey are among a dozen riders who have donated autographed helmets to this year's event, Helmets for Hydro. The auction, which can be found here or by searching ebay for "MXforChildren," opened Wednesday. Bidding continues until Thanksgiving -- Nov. 25.

"It's a great cause," said 2010 AMA Supercross Champion Ryan Dungey from his home in Florida, where he's training for January's Anaheim 1 -- the first race of the 2011 season. "Since I turned pro [in 2006], I've been in a great position to help by donating my gear. I feel really blessed to do what I do and it lets me help others in need."

Paul Gross conceived MX for Children in 2005 with Lori Poliski as way to give back to the hospital that had saved their son, William, who was born 10 weeks premature. It allowed Gross to connect a cause with the sport he loved. "We are very grateful to the riders who supported us in this year's auction. While competitive with each other on the track, off the track they have bonded and united to help others," he told ESPN. Based in Seattle, Gross is also a co-founder and board member of the Hydrocephalus Clinical Research Network.

MX for Children built relationships with some of the riders whose helmets are up for grabs as a result of its Inside Line Experience, which gives kids a behind-the-scenes look at the sport through meet-and-greets, access to private practice sessions and tickets and pit passes at select contests. "We formulated our plan in March of this year and started the outreach to the riders in April," explained photographer Rex Backman, who works with MX for Children.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) describe hydrocephalous as an "excessive accumulation of fluid in the brain." Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is created by the body and surrounds the brain and spinal cord, but obstructing the flow or impeding the body's ability to absorb the fluid can cause harmful pressure on the brain; Hydrocephalous can be acquired after severe head trauma, among other things, but, up to half of cases are congenital. According to the NIH, "Experts estimate that hydrocephalus affects approximately 1 in every 500 children." Surgery to insert a "shunt"-- a device to alleviate the build up -- is the most common treatment. Gross's son has undergone four in just two years.

All of the money earned from the auction will go to children's hospitals across North America.