When Dr. Eduardo Novais was growing up in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, his main hobbies were soccer and capoeira — a martial art that originated in Africa and blends dance, acrobatics and music. “There was a fair amount of prejudice in Brazil when I was a child. I hung out with a lot of Afro-Brazilian kids, which helped me not see color in people,” says Novais.
Eduardo Novais — At a glance
Favorite childhood book, game or hobby:
capoeira and soccer
Advice for 10-year-old self:
“Never be afraid to explore.”
Favorite way to relax:
Novais tries to make it home every night in time for bath time and story time with his children Arthur, 3 and Sophia, 5. They also love playing soccer together.
Though soccer and capoeira set the stage for some lifelong friendships, Novais tended to dodge his friends when they were flirting with trouble. “I never broke many rules. I wouldn’t jump from a high tree or do anything before my friends did. I was always extra careful.”
There’s one exception to Novais’ aversion to risk — his professional life. Novais bounced from Brazil to Boston to Denver and back to Boston as he pursued his dream of becoming a pediatric orthopedic surgeon, specializing in caring for babies, children and young adults with hip conditions.
And today, the man who confesses to measuring every move he makes has some simple advice for his own children and his patients. “Don’t be afraid of failing. You’ll learn a lot more from failing than from not failing.”
In any yoga class David Vendetti teaches, there’s sure to be laughing, tears and abundant hugs. David co-owns South Boston Yoga — New England’s largest yoga studio — and teaches every class with positivity and true heart. His unique style has garnered him awards, invitations to travel and, most importantly for David, the respect of the 200 students who come through his studio every day.
Teaching students and training teachers day in and day out requires a healthy mind and body, which had become more and more difficult for David after suffering from 10 years of mild lower back and hip pain. “I learned that chronic pain is not only a physical burden but also an emotional one,” says David. “As the pain got more intense, I tried everything,” he explains. “I saw two physical therapists, two different body workers and a chiropractor.”
Then two and a half years ago, things took a sharp turn for the worse. David flew from Boston to Athens to teach a workshop and threw out his back right after checking into the hotel. “It felt like something horrible was happening,” he remembers. “The pain moved to my neck, down into my back and finally settled very painfully into my hips.”
As August melted into September, Grady McCormick counted down the days to the start of first grade. The smiley youngster barely contained his excitement at the prospect of riding the big school bus. “It was a tremendous milestone for Grady,” says his mother Heather.
And when Grady walked off the bus and into the Stratham Memorial Elementary School in Stratham, New Hampshire, it seemed like the entire student body cheered for him.
During the last two years, as the 6-year-old battled Legg-Calve-Perthes disease, a hip condition caused by disruption of the blood flow to the femoral head (ball of the hip), and hobbled on his A-frame brace, he wove his way into the hearts of his school community and developed a special bond with Dr. Benjamin Shore, his orthopedic surgeon at Boston Children’s Hospital Orthopedic Center.