(NEW YORK) — A group of women who’ve been friends for 40 years remembered one of their own, who died from ovarian cancer in April, during a planned girl’s trip.
“We could not make this trip without her,” Sharon Robinson said Saturday about her late friend, Denise Williamson, while visiting a rented Seacrest, Florida beach house.
Robinson, Williamson, Della Jackson, Daphne Thompson, Lisa Alexander and LaTangie Ingram have called themselves, “The Sensational Six.” The women initially met while attending Charles Lincoln Harper High School in Atlanta.
The six friends, now in their 50s, have “been together through all the milestones of our lives,” Robinson, 53, told “Good Morning America.”
“We’ve been through a lot in our 40 years. We had a 50th birthday party, we’ve been through the death of parents, we’ve been through the death of a husband, we’ve gone through breast cancer — we have a breast cancer survivor — and even graduations and weddings,” the Stone Mountain, Georgia, resident added.
The friends were initially optimistic when Williamson told them she was diagnosed with cancer in July 2016. But they understood her prognosis had grown dire when she called the six friends onto a conference call a few months ago to share grim news.
“She had gone to one of the cancer centers [in Houston, Texas,] and they told her they weren’t able to accept her,” Jackson, 53, recalled. “There was nothing else that they could do.”
Williamson shared her news just months after the six had planned a trip to celebrate the 40th anniversary of their friendship, in Seacrest, Florida.
“We had planned this trip last year,” Robinson said. “Denise thought it was a great idea, as well.”
But Williamson wouldn’t make the trip. She died just two months before they were slated to go, at the age of 52.
Still, the friends were determined to include Williamson in the anniversary. They brought a picture of her to place in their beach house and wore shirts and friendship bracelets in the color teal, which signifies ovarian cancer awareness. On Sunday, the five women trekked to the beach and lit lanterns in honor of Williamson.
“She had every intention of being here. Even after the bad news … she had every intention on living life to the fullest. She was a fighter,” Jackson said. “And we’re not going to leave her out.”
Other friends asked if the group would change their name since they lost Williamson.
“They asked, ‘What are you going to be the Fantastic Five or something?’ And I said, ‘No, we’re still the Sensational Six,'” Jackson said. “Denise will always be here with us.”
Although the woman have other friends, sorority sisters, children and husands, they consider their friendships “like a marriage.”
“We are here for each other for a lifetime — for better, for worse,” Robinson added. “Because we have disagreements and we might get heated about something, but we come back together and support each other through everything.”
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