Max Page (center) presents Dr. Cathy Han of the Saddleback Memorial Foundation his auctioned Darth Vader helmet which she won on April 20, 2013, in Orange County, Calif.
Courtesy of Jennifer Page
06/12/2013 at 08:00 AM EDT
The Force is strong with Max Page.
It's been one year since the actor, 8, best known for playing a pint-sized Darth Vader in a Volkswagen Super Bowl commercial
that went viral, underwent life-saving open-heart surgery
"He's doing remarkably well," his mom Jennifer Page tells PEOPLE.
Since then, he's used his powers for good throughout the galaxy. "He's a full-throttle kid who loves doing charity work," says Page, 40, "making appearances in hospitals nationwide, raising funds and cheering up other kids."
The San Clemente, Calif.-based actor, who's endured eight surgeries in his lifetime at Children's Hospital Los Angeles
, serves as a junior ambassador for the hospital, raising more than $50,000 for those unable to afford health care.
"I love being able to help kids who are less fortunate," says Max, who's also been a recurring character on The Young and Restless
for the past four years and has starred in a number of other commercials. "It's all about giving back."
No one is more appreciative than the officials at Children's Hospital.
"In terms of generosity, Max's heart seems to have tripled in size since his surgery," says DeAnn Marshall, senior vice president of Children's Hospital Los Angeles. "Max and his family have also brought in hundreds of new donors."
Max, who was born with a congenital heart defect and had a pacemaker implanted when he was just three months old, refuses to let his condition slow him down.
On June 19, he and his family will be in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on Family Advocacy Day
to raise awareness for children's hospitals nationwide.
And if he gets recognized as little Darth Vader while he's there, that's just fine with him.
"I've never gotten tired of it," he says. "It was fun filming it. It's never going to get old to me."
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