The woman photographed fleeing the World Trade Centre in one of the most iconic and enduring images of the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks has died from cancer.
Marcy Borders, 42, known as the ‘Dust Lady’, had attributed her stomach cancer - diagnosed in April 2014 - to the after-effects of the attack in 2001 which claimed 2,753 lives.
The mother-of-two, who is believed to have died on Monday night according to her family's social media posts, blamed her illness on inhaling dust particles: “I’m saying to myself ‘Did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?
“I definitely believe it because I haven’t had any illnesses. I don’t have high blood pressure...high cholesterol, diabetes,” she told US newspaper the New Jersey journal in November.
Ms Borders was only in her first month at the World Trade Centre One, where she worked on the 81 floor, when the bombers flew into the building. Despite orders from her supervisor to stay at her desk, the then-28-year-old's disobedience saved her life as she made it out of the building.
“Hundreds of people were trying to get out. My stairwell was badly damaged and we had to move stairwells, I was convinced we were going to die. I’m so glad I had the strength to get to the bottom,” she told the MailOnline in 2011.
In pictures: 9/11 Memorial Museum
In pictures: 9/11 Memorial Museum
1/10 Pavilion exterior
The long-awaited museum dedicated to the 3,000 victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York, will open to the public at the World Trade Center site on May 21
2/10 Pavilion exterior
A view of the pavilion from outside
3/10 WTC Tridents
Recovered from the World Trade Center Site after 11 September 2001, these structural steel 'tridents' rose from the base of the North Tower (1 WTC). These columns were embedded at bedrock, branching from one column into three at the sixth floor. Here, they are located in the museum’s entry pavilion designed by Snoetta
4/10 Rescue and recovery
Photographs of rescue and recovery are part of the the exhibition
5/10 FDNY ambulance
FDNY ambulances were dispatched to the World Trade Center after hijacked Flight 175 struck the South Tower
6/10 Damaged phone booth
Damaged phone booth recovered after the 9/11 attacks is part of the exhibition
7/10 Bike rack
Bike rack recovered from outside of WTC building
8/10 Flag steel
The 'flag steel' is a piece of recovered WTC steel. Its graceful s-curve makes it appear as if it is a ribbon, or flag, flowing in the wind
Operating engineers used grappler claws to lift tangled steel and debris from the pile at Ground Zero. Spotters worked alongside them, scrutinizing each load for human remains. Breeze Demolition was among the companies utilizing heavy construction equipment for the recovery and cleanup operations
10/10 Box Columns
On 9/11, hijacked Flight 11 tore into the north facade of the North Tower, creating a gash from the 93rd through the 99th floors and tearing apart steel (M-27) columns weighing many tons
After surviving 9/11 Ms Borders struggled with alcohol and drugs dependency, loosing custody of her children.
“I didn’t care about myself or anyone else. I couldn’t deal with life. I had become a garbage can. I dropped to around 90lb. My life wasn’t getting any better. I wanted to end it,” she told The Times around the same time.
Following a stint in rehabilitation in 2011 she remained sober. She was diagnosed with cancer in 2014 and started a course of treatment.
Writing on Facebook, her cousin John Borders, said she “unfortunately succumbed to the diseases that (have) ridden her body since 9/11.”
“In addition to losing so many friends, co-workers, and colleagues on and after that tragic day, the pains from yesteryear (have) found a way to resurface,” he wrote.Reuse content