Max Page, the 7-year-old who played Little Vader in Volkswagen's hugely popular 2011 Super Bowl spot, will undergo open-heart surgery Wednesday for a congenital heart defect, according to a note from ad agency Deutsch. His mother told the Today show in an interview after the ad first aired that he was diagnosed with the condition when he was an infant and normally uses a pacemaker. The procedure tomorrow will replace his pulmonary valve and fix a hole in his heart, says the agency, which is helping Page—through his work as an ambassador for the Children's Hospital in Los Angeles—raise money to support other children with heart problems. He's scared but remaining admirably positive, according to a note from his mother, passed along by the agency. Read the full letter after the jump—and if you want to donate, click here. (Pictured above: Max with Lance Acord, who directed VW's "The Force" spot for Deutsch.)
From Max's mother Jennifer:
>>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!"