NEW BEDFORD (CBS) — When 14-year-old Noah Fernandes died last spring, after a 9-year battle with mitochondrial disease, his parents buried him at Pine Grove Cemetery in New Bedford.

Last week, they dressed up his gravesite with a small Christmas tree, and decorated it with some of Noah’s favorite ornaments.

But over the weekend, someone stole Noah’s tree.

The Christmas tree stolen from Noah Fernandes' grave. (WBZ-TV)

The Christmas tree stolen from Noah Fernandes’ grave. (WBZ-TV)

Still, his parents epitomize the spirit of this season of giving. They don’t want the thief caught.

“If someone needed it more than Noah, and they couldn’t afford a tree, then maybe Noah blessed it, and the tree will bring them happiness,” said his mom Christine.

“Noah was an angel on earth, and he’s an angel in death, so maybe they needed it.”

The gravesite of Noah Fernandes at Pine Grove Cemetery in New Bedford. (WBZ-TV)

The gravesite of Noah Fernandes at Pine Grove Cemetery in New Bedford. (WBZ-TV)

The only regret for Noah’s mom was that the ornaments were taken.

“That was what hurt me more than the tree itself.”

However, the Fernandes family lives by the creed: If you harbor bitterness, happiness will find another port.

The family set up a website in Noah’s memory. It tries to provide help for other families dealing with mitochondrial disease. They’re also using the website to raise money to build a playground for children in New Bedford. You can get more information at teamnoahfoundation.org.

Bill Shields

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