A woman shown coated in dust in an iconic photo taken inside the ruined World Trade Center after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City has died.
Marcy Borders, who came to be known as the "dust woman," died Aug. 25 after a battle with stomach cancer, an ailment she had feared might be linked to the dust and toxins swirling in the damaged tower. She was 42.
Border was working on the 81st floor inside one of the Twin Towers in the attack, but managed to escape the building.
She told reporters afterward that as the north tower crumbled before her eyes, a stranger pulled her into a building lobby, out of harm's way.
Last year, Borders said she had avoided looking at the photo as much as possible because “I don't want to be a victim anymore.”
In an interview with The Jersey Journal, Borders said her traumatic experience caused her to fall into a decade-long depression that led her to abuse alcohol and drugs. She entered rehab in 2011 and said she had remained sober.
Borders learned she had stomach cancer in August 2014 and she underwent chemotherapy. At the time, the mother of two questioned if her cancer was related to the terrorist attacks.
“I'm saying to myself, 'Did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?'“ she told the newspaper. “I definitely believe it because I haven't had any illnesses. I don't have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes.”
Researchers have not yet determined whether exposure to toxins during the attacks made anyone more likely to get certain types of cancer.