Dust-cov­ered woman from iconic 9/11 pho­to­graph dies of can­cer


A sur­vivor of the Sept. 11, 2001 at­tacks on New York who was fea­tured in one of the most haunting pho­to­graphs of the out­rage has died of stom­ach can­cer. She was 42.

The fam­ily of Marcy Borders first an­nounced her death Mon­day on Face­book.

Borders, who was 28 at the time of the at­tacks, was just one month into a job for Bank of Amer­ica in one of the Twin Tow­ers.

As one of the tow­ers col­lapsed, she took refuge in a nearby of­fice build­ing, where AFP pho­tog­ra­pher Stan Honda took a haunting photo of her com­pletely cov­ered in a thick layer of ash, which earned her the moniker “The Dust Lady.”

The air ap­peared heavy and a dis­traught Borders was shrouded in a cloud of dust and back­lit by an eerie yel­low lu­mi­nes­cence.

“I can’t be­lieve my sis­ter is gone,” her brother Michael Borders wrote on Face­book, ask­ing for peo­ple’s prayers.

Her cousin El­nardo Borders wrote: “My emo­tions are all over the place right now.”

He later wrote: now!!!”

Af­ter the at­tacks, Borders spi­raled into a decade-long deep de­pres­sion

“She @ peace and al­co­hol and drug abuse, though she even­tu­ally re­cov­ered.

She lost her job at Bank of Amer­ica, where she ig­nored re­peated of­fers of a trans­fer.

She spent much of her time se­questered in her two-room flat, in one of the poorer parts of Bay­onne, a bed­room com­mu­nity in New Jersey over the bridge from Man­hat­tan.

‘I still live in fear’

Some­thing in­side of her had died on that fate­ful day.

“I still live in fear. I can’t think about be­ing there, in those tar­gets, the bridges, the tun­nels, the (sub­way) sta­tions,” she told AFP in a whis­per in a March 2012 in­ter­view.

“The fa­ther of my daugh­ter took her; I can’t take care of my­self, so I can’t take care of her.”

Her fridge was empty, and her tele­vi­sion had long turned silent.

“I used to watch TV a lot, the TV was never off,” she said.

“But now I fear that what hap­pens in Jerusalem will hap­pen here. All that vi­o­lence ... so I leave it off.”

Borders was re­ly­ing on her mother for food at the time and said no one had con­tacted her in the months that fol­lowed the at­tacks and her photo was beamed around the world.

No aid or­ga­ni­za­tions helped her and no one had told her that men­tal ser­vices were avail­able for free for 9/11 sur­vivors.

“I ba­si­cally do noth­ing. I stay in­doors; I feel safe in­side,” she said.

“I feel like I would have had to be killed in or­der for my daugh­ter to get some­thing.

“Some­times, I think that you have to be the wife of a fire­fighter or a po­lice­man to get money. It’s so de­press­ing, some­times you’re ready to kill your­self.”

Borders went into re­hab in 2011, and has said that news of the death of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden helped her re­gain peace and re­cover from her trauma.

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