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Darth Vader kid to undergo heart surgery

June 13, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
He won the hearts of America as little Darth Vader in the 2011 Super Bowl Volkswagen commercial, and now, the 7-year-old boy is channeling the force more than ever, as he prepares for surgery on his heart.

Max Page, who plays Reed on the soap opera "The Young and the Restless," will have open-heart surgery on Thursday at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles to replace his pulmonary valve and repair a hole in his heart.

"I just want to try to get through this with a good attitude," Max said.

Page was born with a life-threatening congenital heart defect. About one in 1,000 children has the heart defect Max lives with. Although doctors consider the surgery low risk, it's still one that takes a lot of courage.

"He took time to cry, he took time to be scared, and then he really jumped on board with like, 'Let's just figure out what I can do, and let's just do that,'" Max's mother, Jennifer Page, said.

Dr. Michael Silka of Children's Hospital of Los Angeles says there are only complications in about one out of 100 patients undergoing the surgery.

"To be very optimistic, I would say this may be the final surgery he will need. We're trying to put a tube in with a valve, which hopefully will last him the rest of his life," Silka said.

Max is a mighty force who comes in a small package, but he passes on wisdom beyond his years.

"You always have to go with what you have because you can never get always what you want," Max said.

This is Max's eighth surgery. Recovery time will take about eight weeks. Meantime, he's already a big fundraiser for the hospital, bringing in more than $50,000 last year alone. He and his family are asking his fans to reach out and support other children at the hospital. To get more information about donating, visit Max's fundraising page.

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