Max Page, the Mini Darth Vader, to Undergo Heart Surgery at Children's Hospital Los Angeles

Media Contact: Lorenzo BenetMax Page
Phone: 323-361-4823

Max Page, the little boy who entertained millions playing a mini Darth Vader in a 2011 Super Bowl ad, will undergo surgery to replace a pulmonary heart valve on June 14 at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The surgery will be performed by Children’s Hospital Los Angeles cardiothoracic surgeon Vaughn Starnes, MD,  Distinguished Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery, H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair and Executive Director of the Cardiovascular Thoracic Institute at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California. 

Max, 7, was born with Tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart defect in children. At that time, his parents, Buck and Jennifer Page, brought their infant son to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for treatment.

“This is an anticipated operation,” says Starnes. “It’s not something that came up,” explaining that the condition is based on his previous condition. “We tried to preserve his pulmonary valve,” explains Starnes. But over time, the valve has deteriorated. “It has not grown very well so it’s creating a problem for the heart to empty out into the pulmonary arteries. He needs a new valve and that’s the planned operation,” says Starnes.

Max, a cast member of The Young and the Restless, serves as a Junior Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, speaking to groups and encouraging individuals to support treatment and research to fight pediatric illness. He tells other kids: “If you use your FORCE and dream big, you can achieve anything. We may be small but we are mighty.”

WATCH: Max Page and his family talk about his upcoming surgery on the TODAY show.

“Max is taking it one day at time and maximizing each day,” Jennifer says. “When he first heard the news, he was afraid, but later he wanted to talk about all the things he can do and he made a big list of the things he could focus on for the summer.”

“I don’t have a choice. I have to go through it,” Max said, according to his mother, Jennifer. “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.”

 As an official Junior Ambassador for Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Max raises funds and awareness for the hospital.  Max participated in the hospital’s 2011 5k “Walk for Kids” event and raised a combined $51,000 to help open the new state-of-the-art Marion and John E. Anderson Pavilion so that other children may continue to receive the highest quality pediatric health care available on the West Coast.  Max has also used his star power as the pint-sized Darth Vader in the popular “The Force” Volkswagen commercial to lobby on Capitol Hill against Medicaid cuts, which heavily impact children’s hospitals. Even in the midst of preparing for his open heart surgery, Max wants to continue his efforts so other kids have the same access to care. 

As such, the Page family is asking the public to make a donation to the CHILDREN’S FUND in honor of Max:  www.CHLA.org/MAX  

The Children's Fund raises donations to support the exceptional care, research, and education that make Children's Hospital Los Angeles among the top pediatric hospitals in the nation. The Fund also helps provide care for all families regardless of their ability to pay.

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