Parent You Should Know: Madeline Tomchick Runco

When she was pregnant, Madeline Tomchick Runco faced the scary question that every parent with a serious health condition has—will I pass this on to my child?

Tomchick Runco was born with Aortic Stenosis, a form of Congenital Heart Disease (CHD)—which is often passed down through families—and had to have open-heart surgery at age 2. Her son, Alex, now 2 years old himself, was also born with CHD, but immediate intervention when he was just three days old saved his life.

Nearly 40,000 babies are born with a CHD annually in the United States. Now, Tomchick Runco is actively involved in the Children’s Heart Foundation and recently co-chaired the Sept. 24 heart walk at Wolftrap National Park.

She lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with her husband, James, son, Alex, and their two cats, Buffy and Bruno, and works with Presidium, managing and building their relationship with Microsoft.


What do you love about being a parent?

I absolutely love being a parent. It makes you realize that everything you’ve ever done—none of it compares to the creation of a life and helping that person grow and shape them, helping them learn. You remember the first time you went to the park, saw Mickey Mouse or fireworks…and I get to watch that all over again through Alex’s eyes.

How do you balance work and family life?

I’ve been very blessed. I have a work-from-home job. We have a nanny who comes three days a week to help support [us]. My husband is also [working] from home. When I was interviewed at my job, I made it clear I was mom first and then employee. I’m a very blessed mom, that I don’t have that fight. Many others do. And I will fight for any other mom. When I was at Microsoft, I got hired pregnant. Some of the women who knew that reached out to me to know what it was like.

What was a challenge you’ve faced as a parent?

We were very excited when we got pregnant with Alex. We were over the moon that this little person was being created. When we went to my 21-week appointment, the ultrasound nurse kept looking harder at his heart.

This was my worst fear because I was born with aortic stenosis.

Alex had a transposition of the great arteries…[The doctor] said he can have a great life; we just have to have a different plan for when he’s born.

There’s no greater fear than to hand over your newborn child to have open-heart surgery.

Being brand new parents and having our child have open-heart surgery was
the challenge we had. We definitely leaned on each other for that. The support of Children’s National helped us get through it, [as well as] my parents and the different organizations that were out there that I could turn to. Knowing there was this support system, this community that had been through this, I wasn’t the only parent who was a heart warrior herself who had a kid who was going to be one.

We hope that we can be that support for parents because we know what that feels like. It’s not just about being there for these parents. It’s about being there for the other kids who have gone through that.

What do you hope your child learns from you?

We hope that he learns about diversity of thought—that he knows there are different personalities, ways and opinions out there. Even though we are privileged in the life we live, we want him to know not everyone has that situation. We want him to lead with love first and compassion. We’re all on this big planet together, and there’s no reason to judge each other about it.

Family Favorites

Meal: Pizza

Dessert: We don’t give him a ton of sugar, but probably just fruit in general. We went peach picking a few weeks back.

He’s really big into apples right now—Mommy is, too.

Vacation Spot: Nice, France, and Rehoboth, Delaware

Local Spot: Anywhere there’s a park. Montgomery County is filled with parks.

Movie: He may be young, but at 9 months old, he went and saw “Top Gun: Maverick” in the theaters. He’ll even watch 10 minutes before bed. It’s the theme of his birthday.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here