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Darth Vader kid released from hospital, heads home after heart surgery

June 18, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Max Page, the boy known for his Darth Vader role in a popular car ad, was released from the hospital Monday.

The 7-year-old was accompanied by family members as he spoke about his open-heart surgery to reporters.

He may be famous for being the miniature Dark Lord in the unforgettable Volkswagen Passat Super Bowl commercial, but Page is proving to be a force on his own - he overcame a life-threatening heart condition that was once considered a death sentence.

Just four days after his surgery, Page is heading home well ahead of schedule. He said one thing he's really looking forward to is downing a cold milkshake.

It appears Page was perfectly cast as the pint-sized Darth Vader, who uses sheer will to move objects. Page's power of positive thinking was what kept him going through eight surgeries that began when he was a baby.

He was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a lethal heart condition. This is the second time doctors have replaced his pulmonary valve.

"He kind of came in saying, 'Look, we just have to do it, and I'll move on. The force is with me.' He's really maintained that sparkle and that positive attitude," said Dr. Michael Silka with Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

Page, who first came to Children's Hospital when he was just 5 weeks old, has used his talents and winning personality to raise $50,000 for the hospital last year alone. Last summer, he went to Washington to ask for increased children's access to quality health care. He is a crusader for young patients everywhere.

"I do so much with the hospital, it's just really fun," Page said.

His new valve should last 10-15 years. If it grows with his body, doctors expect he should live a long, healthy life. Doctors say it should take 6-8 weeks for his sternum to heal and they'll keep a close eye on his recovery.

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