Volkswagen's Little Vader Has To Have Open-Heart Surgery

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Max Page, the 7-year-old star of Volkswagen's Star Wars-themed 2011 Superbowl spot, goes under the knife Wednesday for a heart condition he's had from infancy.

Page is an ambassador for the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles, and his agency is asking people to donate money to the center to help support Page and other children with heart problems.


Until now, Page has had to rely on a pacemaker, but the operation will fix a hole in his heart and replace one of its valves. His mother, Jennifer, wrote a letter describing her son's trials and optimism.

We told Max and Els [Max's brother] Sunday afternoon. Initially, Max was crying and repeating how scared how he was. We unpeeled the layers by asking what exactly he was afraid of and tackled each issue as he could verbalize it. Blood draws, spending the night in the hospital and hurting are the big three. He was also very sad that summer would be in rest in recovery instead of playing baseball, golf and traveling. Around bedtime he asked if I would stay up with him and talk. He wanted to make a "CAN DO" list. So we wrote out all the things he can do so he could focus on those. Then he said we definitely had to "Fun Up" the house. So we went and got Els out of bed and spent the next hour redesigning each room with a theme, special rules and secret codes. In the Library (Els Room) we have to read with flashlights. On Whisper Lane (the hallway) you have to whisper. Going up the stairs you have to sing "Take me out to the ball game". The most favorite is the garage-Explode Zone-science experiments and art projects, the messier the better.

Last night, I wanted to make sure he was doing as well as he seemed. He said, "Mom I don't have a choice. I have to go through it. I don't like it and it's still scary-but I have to. So I think I might as well go through it with a good attitude." So as we hop on Max's coattails to go on this ride-we too, shall do it with a good attitude. Though we will still tremble with tears and have our overwhelming moments-we will focus on the "CAN DO" and enjoy our Fun Up House.

Mighty Max wants me to include one more thing-one of the lines he uses when he speaks to groups.

"Kids, if you use your FORCE and dream big, you can achieve anything. We may be small-but we're mighty!"


Mighty indeed. You can donate here.

(Hat tip to @bgluckman!)