Marcy Borders, the woman whose image defined the 9/11 attacks, has died from stomach cancer.
Borders, 42, was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year and began undergoing chemotherapy treatments over the summer, the New York Daily News reports. The Bayonne, NJ native was employed with Bank of America on Sept. 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the Twin Towers with hijacked airplanes. She worked on the 81st floor of 1 World Trade Center and escaped just minutes after the buildings collapsed.
Covered with dust and powdered concrete, Borders said she ran as fast as she could out of the building. She was brought to safety in a lobby nearby. AFP photographer Stan Honda snapped a photo of Borders, which became known “The Dust Lady.” Her image served as a stark reminder of a day that shifted the trajectory of an entire country.
Borders opened up about the experience three years ago with filmmaker Mike McGregor.
Borders suffered from depression and drug use in the years following the attack. She told her family she was frightened to board planes and often believed terrorists would return to harm her. After she was diagnosed with cancer, Borders questioned whether the toxins she inhaled during her escape planted cancer cells in her otherwise normal body.
She told NJ:
“I’m saying to myself ‘Did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?’” she said. “I definitely believe it because I haven’t had any illnesses. I don’t have high blood pressure…high cholesterol, diabetes.
The mother of two was working on getting her career back on track and paying off $190,000 in medical bills. She told reporters in November she couldn’t look at the iconic photo. Instead, she wanted to be known as a survivor.
Mayor Bill de Blasio sent condolences to her family on Twitter.
SOURCE: New York Daily News, NJ | VIDEO CREDIT: NDN, Vimeo