By John Chambless

Staff Writer

Lucy Marlett passed away on Feb. 8, after battling mitochondrial disease for her entire life. She was 5 years old.

Her older siblings -- Jack, Megan and Sophie -- attend Avon Grove schools. They and their parents, Drew and Nicole, live in West Grove. Last month, the community gave hundreds of toys to be donated in Lucy's name to sick children at A.I. duPont Hospital, where Lucy spent much of her life.

"We knew we wanted to pay back two organizations," Nicole said last month. "One was the United  Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, so when she passed, we made a joint research fund for them. The other was to give back to the place that has given us so much, the A.I. duPont Hospital, which we affectionately refer to as our home away from home.

Mitochondrial disease -- a progressive degenerative disease in which the body does not convert food and oxygen into energy correctly, resulting in multi-system organ dysfunction -- is an incurable and terminal disease.

"I knew that there would be a lot of people who wanted to do something," Nicole continued, "so we felt like this was a great way for the little people in her life to do something in her honor that's really tangible. We heard lots of stories from families who said that they took their kids to buy a present for Lucy's birthday to give back to the hospital. One mom said this was the first time she took her kids shopping when they didn't ask for something for themselves."

On May 3 at 6:30 p.m., there will be a benefit concert, “For the Love of Lucy,” at the Marlett family's church, Willowdale Chapel in Kennett Square.  The Marlett family has been studying music at the Hockessin Music School since 2002, so the school and the Wind Symphony of Southern New Jersey will perform some of Lucy's favorites -- music from "Harry Potter," "The Lion King," "Pirates of the Caribbean," and more -- for the benefit of a fund that is seeking a cure for mitochondrial disease. Tickets are $10 ($25 for families). For reservations, call 302-239-8281, or visit the family's blog (www.allthemarletts.blogspot.com ) for more information.