Girls’ trip to Florida beach helps women honor friend who died of cancer

Credit: Photo used with permission

Credit: Photo used with permission

Like a lot of people, a group of women from metro Atlanta took a beach trip this summer. Unlike most people, they became internet stars while frolicking in the sand.

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Photos of the friends and a sweet message about the power of their bond sent them soaring to internet fame on the wings of more than 365,000 likes and retweets. Here’s the story of how Sharon Robinson, Della Jackson, Daphne Thompson, LaTangie Ingram, Lisa Alexander and Denise Williamson became Twitter famous.

“We’ve gone through valleys and mountains,” Jackson said.

It was in eighth grade at C.L. Harper High School that a group of girls forged a lifelong bond.

“Della and Daphne have known each other all their lives; their mothers were friends,” Robinson clarified. “Lisa and I went to elementary school together.”

During a sleepover, someone came up with the name “Sensational Six.” It stuck. They were inseparable throughout their school years, although college, marriage and careers took them in different directions, the Sensational Six never strayed far from each other.

Today, the women live in Atlanta, Douglasville, Warm Springs, Stone Mountain and Jonesboro and get together regularly. Sometimes their children (11 between them) and husbands are included, and sometimes it’s just the girls.

“One of our favorite hotels is the Embassy Suites,” Robinson said. “We would sit and talk and eat and cry.”

In July 2016, Williamson shared the news with her fellow Sensationals: She’d been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her sister-friends showered her with love, making sure she had all the emotional and logistical support she needed.

“She led so many people to Christ and build a solid foundation in Christ,” Alexander said.

In April, Denise’s battle ended. Two months later, her friends carried her in their hearts to Florida.

“There are five of us here, and our angel Denise,” Robinson said Saturday, after a photo of the friends posed with a picture of Denise had gone viral.

It was a vacation with a few more tears than usual, and no one had to explain when a wave of emotion came crashing down.

“We just have that bond where we know how each other feel,” Robinson said.

The outpouring of social media support has been formidable, with many admirers clamoring for a movie or television series about the Sensational Six. Given Atlanta’s stature in the filming world, it could happen easily.

For now, the surviving women are content to keep enjoying their lives together, grateful for the ties that bind.

“There are times I can’t talk to my husband about exactly how I feel,” Alexander said. The Sensationals, though, “They’ll understand because they’re probably going through it, too. I could make it through this world without this sister-friend bond, but it makes it easier.”

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