King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, left, passes the microphone to Katherine De Stephano after presenting her the All in for Autism Leadership Award at the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club meeting on Jan. 25. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci, left, passes the microphone to Katherine De Stephano after presenting her the All in for Autism Leadership Award at the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club meeting on Jan. 25. Evan Pappas/Staff Photo

Escape Outdoors owner recognized with All in for Autism Leadership Award

Escape Outdoors co-founder Katherine De Stephano receives All in for Autism Leadership Award.

In preparation for this year’s All in for Autism 5k/10k run fundraiser in April, the Bellevue Breakfast Rotary Club (BBRC) awarded Escape Outdoors owner and co-founder Katherine De Stephano the 2019 All in for Autism Leadership Award on Jan. 25.

This year marks the 13th year for the annual fundraiser, and as a part of the event the BBRC recognizes contributions and support from local organizations and the city. The money raised through the fundraiser will go to Autism support programs and other Rotary programs to benefit children and families in Bellevue. Kindering, an early intervention company that provides support for special needs or at-risk children, will be the primary beneficiary of the fundraiser in 2019.

King County Councilmember Claudia Balducci presented De Stephano with the award for her support of the All in for Autism run. De Stephano was one of the leaders of the race for a number of years, Balducci said, and was a large part of bringing the structure and organization that enabled it to grow into it’s modern form, bringing in thousands of people each year.

De Stephano explained the run was originally held at Crossroads Park, but was limited in size due to the space constraints. To find more room, she began discussions with Kemper Development Company and the city of Bellevue’s Parks Department to bring the event to Downtown Bellevue.

Now the run is held at the Downtown Park in Bellevue, with thousands of runners registering every year. The bigger space has also allowed the fundraiser to get more attention and support from the community.

“The event is spectacular and the fact that it does bring families together and the community together,” she said. “It gets people outside doing an activity, and it’s also for an amazing cause in terms of All in for Autism. It’s a great way to help bring awareness.”

All in for Autism 2019 is scheduled for Sunday, April 28, at Bellevue’s Downtown Park on 10201 NE Fourth St. For more information, visit allinforautism.org.

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