New Palm Beach County Reef Honors Breast Cancer Survivor

New Palm Beach County Reef Honors Breast Cancer Survivor

Lorea Thomson
Posted by Lorea Thomson
Updated on
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Published in Boating

Photo Courtesy of Riviera Beach Maritime Academy

Palm Beach County divers have a new underwater landmark to discover. The new reef will honor a local three-time breast cancer survivor, Andrea Torrente. “Andrea's Reef”, a 60,000-pound mermaid honoring the valiant woman, has established a home just 3/4 miles east off the Lake Worth Inlet, submerged under 75 feet of water. The sculptures for the reef were deployed off Ocean Reef Park on Singer Island, August 11, 2016.

Thomas McDonald, sculptor, found the inspiration to model his mermaid after the local woman who has survived breast cancer. McDonald started work on his commissioned sculpture during National Breast Cancer Awareness Month last October. He said in a release, "I work at a women's health clinic in Roanoke, Virginia”. "I'm very familiar with breast cancer; I've had people with breast cancer in my family. So I just thought of the idea, and thought, let's go ahead and find someone with breast cancer and make her the face of the mermaid."

Susan G. Komen South Florida selected Andrea Torrente, a Palm Beach County resident, for the distinctive honor.  The Susan G. Komen Foundation helped cover the costs of treatment upon her second diagnosis. Torrente said getting the news that she would be the motivation for the reef piece was "amazing," She said, "It lifts your spirits and is inspiring to others with cancer and battling illness. The reef will bring new life and hope to other survivors while improving our marine environment." 

McDonald sculpted the mold, and  high school students at Riviera Beach Maritime Academy designed and built the massive concrete structure. Combined the six-piece reef weighs in at 60,000 pounds and measures 20 feet by 15 feet. 

For more information, please visit Susan G. Komen Foundation Facebook page.

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