Marcy Borders, the ‘Dust Lady’ from the Iconic 9/11 Photo, Has Died of Cancer

Marcy Borders in the
Marcy Borders in the "Dust Lady" photograph from 9/11. Photo: Stan Honda, courtesy AFP.
Marcy Borders in the "Dust Lady" photograph from 9/11. Photo: Stan Honda, courtesy AFP.

Marcy Borders in the “Dust Lady” photograph from 9/11.
Photo: Stan Honda, courtesy AFP.

Marcy Borders, the dust-covered woman in one of the most memorable images from the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York’s World Trade Center, has died of cancer at age 42, reports NBC News.

Then 28, Borders had only been working for Bank of America, located on the 81st floor of the World Trade Center, for a month when the attacks occurred.

Borders left her office despite receiving orders from her boss to keep working, she told the New York Post in 2011. She made it outside just as the north tower collapsed. A stranger helped her inside a nearby building, where AFP photographer Stan Honda captured her distress.

Photograph Stan Honda with Marcy Borders, the subject of his famous 9/11 "Dust Lady" photograph. Photo: AFP.

Photograph Stan Honda with Marcy Borders, the subject of his famous 9/11 “Dust Lady” photograph.
Photo: AFP.

“A woman came in completely covered in grey dust. You could tell she was nicely dressed for work and for a second she stood in the lobby,” wrote Honda of the image on Facebook on the tenth anniversary of the attacks. “I took one shot of her before the police officer started to direct people up a set of stairs, thinking it would be safer off the ground level.”

Though Borders lived through the fatal attacks, she did not escape unscathed. “Every time I saw an aircraft, I panicked,” she said to the Post. “I started smoking crack cocaine, because I didn’t want to live.”

Borders lost custody of her two children in the years that followed, but got clean in 2011, after checking herself into rehab.

She was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2014, a disease she believed was linked to her experience that fateful day.

“I’m saying to myself: ‘Did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?'” Borders told the New Jersey Journal.

“Not only is she the ‘Dust Lady’ but she is my hero and she will forever live through me,” Borders’s daughter, Noelle, told the Post.

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