A New Jersey woman shown covered in dust in an iconic photo taken after the 2001 terrorist attacks in New York City has died.
Marcy Borders died Monday night after a battle with stomach cancer, her daughter Noelle Borders said Wednesday.
The 42-year-old Bayonne resident was working on the 81st floor inside one of the Twin Towers in the attack, but she managed to escape the building. She told news reporters afterward that as the north tower crumbled before her eyes, a stranger pulled her into a building lobby, out of harm’s way. The striking image of her was captured by Stan Honda with AFP.
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 clean.
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.