Stand Out: A New Must-Read Inspirational Story for Kids with Diabetes

BY Katrina Rusinko  |  March 14th, 2023  |  No Comments
Katrina Rusinko

Stand Out, The True Story of Hockey Hero Ajay Baines, is the Pops team’s new favorite children’s book! The inspirational story follows the true-life events of Ajay Baines, who was diagnosed with diabetes in high school and worked hard to achieve his dream of becoming a professional hockey player.

Meet the Authors Sean Campbell and Ajay Baines

Sean and Ajay grew up a block away from each other. Like many best-friend duos, their friendship started off as rivals on the elementary soccer field. Since realizing soccer was neither of their passions, they dropped the rivalry and have become lifelong friends. Each becoming successful in pursuing their own goals.

Sean Campbell has always been passionate about writing and storytelling. Sean is a successful publisher, speaker, and author, having written numerous children’s books that inspire and motivate young readers. Sean’s books emphasize the importance of perseverance and resilience, encouraging children to embrace failure as a necessary step on the path to success.

Ajay Baines, on the other hand, had a passion for the fast-paced and competitive world of ice hockey. Ajay had a successful professional hockey career, playing all over North America. In 2007, Ajay secured his team’s victory in the Calder Cup Championship by scoring the game- winning goal.

Representation of Diabetes in Children’s Books

Representation in children’s books allows children to see themselves and others reflected in the stories they read. When children see characters that look like them or have the same interests and challenges, they feel seen and validated which can boost their self-esteem. Kids can also learn empathy and understanding, from hearing stories about individuals who are different from them. Stand Out does an amazing job at giving kids with diabetes the confidence to chase their dreams, and educating kids who are not familiar with the condition.

One of Sean and Ajay’s favorite things since publishing their children’s book “Stand Out” has been visiting schools and reading the story to the kids. “There is usually one or two kids with diabetes in each school, and normalizing diabetes for those kids has been really powerful,” said Sean. “We want kids with diabetes to understand that they aren’t alone and that while they may be unique to some of their other classmates, they still have all the same opportunities.”

“Sean also does a great job at displaying that Diabetes isn’t an individual thing. It takes a good support team. Me being successful at hockey took support from my parents, my friends, my coaches, and my teammates. Most of my teammates didn’t know much about diabetes, but they were always supportive. They would see how I would react to different blood sugar levels and would always be willing to help if needed. It’s a team effort, and what better sport than hockey to display that.” -Ajay.

Importance of Having a Role Model

An important part of writing the book was giving kids with diabetes a role model. When Ajay was 16, he was diagnosed with diabetes. At that time, Ajay had only heard about the condition, he didn’t know much about it. When he was diagnosed, he just had one question for his doctor, “Can I still play hockey?” Without hesitation, the doctor said “Oh absolutely! Do you know Bobby Clark?” Knowing of someone who has achieved a similar dream with diabetes immediately gave Ajay the confidence and drive to manage his condition while still chasing his hockey dream.

“To the kids that we meet, Ajay is their Bobby Clark. It is important that they see a future while having this diagnosis. And see someone who is not just surviving but also thriving.” -Sean.

Growing From Failure

Beyond being a great book about Showing Diabetes Who’s Boss. Stand Out also has a great message about growing and learning from your failures, something everyone can relate to.

“What I try to put in a lot of my books is that failure is okay. I think a lot of adults know that, but a lot of kids don’t. They’re so scared of failing or making a mistake when failing is how we grow. We want kids to be lifelong learners and to be fearless when going after the goals they have. If it’s a big enough goal, it will never be a straight line.” said Sean.

Purchase Stand Out, The True Story of Hockey Hero Ajay Baines on Amazon

Learn More about Author Sean Campbell

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