A Massachusetts family, who just lost a loved one, is now dealing with more heartache after a thief stole something they recently placed at the cemetery.
Noah Fernandes, of Acushnet, was just 14-years-old when he died in March after a battle with Mitochondrial Disease — a condition that causes frequent strokes.
“It can’t believe it’s been 9 months, it feels like an eternity that I haven’t seen him,” said Noah's mother, Christine Fernandes. “He lived a bit longer than most children who are diagnosed, he was a miracle because each time he would go in and they’d say 'I don’t think he is going to go home this time,' and he would just say, 'I’m going to show you' and he would come home time and time again.”
Because this is the first year the Fernandes family will not have Noah for the holidays, they decided to place a Christmas tree at his grave at the Pine Grove Cemetery in New Bedford. But when the family went to revisit the grave site, the 3-foot, decorated tree had disappeared.
“It was just gone and to think someone just stole it, what is their right mind to think, 'let me just take that from a child that passed away.' It’s just inconceivable,” said Noah's brother, Isaac Fernandes.
Cemetery officials said it’s unlikely the tree blew away and none of the workers at cemetery said they removed it.
“I just got angry and kind of devastated,” Christine Fernandes said.
Although the little tree is gone, permanent memorials to Noah are coming.
The Fernandes family has started the Team Noah Foundation to help children with disabilities.They are now raising money to build a park with a handicap accessible playground. It’s their way to offer comfort to others who have gone through similar heartbreak.
“We have to take comfort in something and his memory is living on in helping others. When I see a smile on kid’s faces, it’s my Noah smiling back at me,” said Christine Fernandes.