James A. Thompson, MD, is a board-certified pediatric cardiologist at the Inova Children’s Heart Program and the founder of the StarKid 5K and Family Fun Run, an annual event benefitting the program. Read Dr. Thompson’s profile.


Each year, my colleagues and I at the Inova Children’s Heart Program treat hundreds of children with heart problems. But for one gratifying day every June, we’re able to watch those young patients just be kids.

For the last 11 years, the StarKid 5K and Family Fun Run has brought together hospital staff, patients, their families and community members to benefit the Children’s Heart Program.

This year, the event will take place on June 4 at Fairfax Corner Shopping Center. It’s a great way to support a wonderful cause in the community – and to have a ton of fun.

Fun for a Cause

I helped launch the StarKid race 11 years ago as a way to raise money to support our mission to care for children with heart defects. Last year we surpassed our fundraising goal of $125,000, and we’re hoping to do it again in 2017.

The event has grown from a couple hundred people in its first years to about 1,500 participants today. In addition to the 5K race, the event includes a mini run for little kids as well as fun family activities such as face painting, an obstacle course, a bounce house and an inflatable climbing wall.

Some participants run in honor of children they’ve lost to heart disease. Many other current and former patients and their families come out each year to raise awareness of congenital heart disease and raise money to support our program. Re-connecting with those families is always a highlight.

Investing in State-of-the-Art Care

About 1 in every 100 children is born with congenital heart disease. We have a highly trained team of cardiologists, surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, respiratory therapists and other specialists who work together to make sure those kids get the very best care.

Yet state-of-the-art cardiac care requires a lot of resources, including new equipment and training. Many of those investments aren’t reimbursed by insurance. The money raised by the StarKid benefit is truly essential to what we do every day.

Our goal is to keep providing the best possible care for young patients in the northern Virginia area, and we are so grateful that our community steps up to support us each year.

We hope you’ll join your neighbors at the 2017 StarKid benefit – and bring your friends!

The StarKid 5K and Family Fun Run will take place Sunday, June 4, 2017 at 8 a.m. at Fairfax Corner Shopping Center (4100 Monument Corner Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030). If you want to race, you can register for the race on the morning of the event or pre-register online. Or stop by to enjoy the other fun-filled activities, and help keep kids’ hearts running strong!




Leave a Comment