She was dressed in business attire and was covered head-to-toe in dust when photographer Stan Honda took a picture.
"A woman came in completely covered in grey dust," Honda wrote on Facebook, recalling the day. "You could tell she was nicely dressed for work and for a second she stood in the lobby. 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."
The picture, known as the "Dust Lady," would later become one of the most iconic images of the tragic day.
— Meredith Frost (@MeredithFrost) August 26, 2015
Borders succumbed to stomach cancer on Monday night, according to Facebook posts by her family members. Her brother, Michael Borders, said he needed people’s prayers.
"I can’t believe my sister is gone," he posted later.
Writing that she has "unfortunately succumbed to the diseases that (have) ridden her body since 9/11," her cousin John Bordes called her his "hero," and said that the tragedy of the attacks has "found a way to resurface" after her death.
After surviving the attacks, Borders fell into a state of depression and struggled with drug and alcohol addiction to cope with the trauma. She checked into rehab in 2011, and later told The Jersey Journal that she had stayed clean since.
A mother of two, Borders had just started working again with a candidate’s local campaign for mayor when she was diagnosed with stomach cancer. She told the Jersey Journal that she believed the disease was tied to the 9/11 attacks.
"I’m saying to myself ‘did this thing ignite cancer cells in me?'" She said. "I definitely believe it because I haven’t had any illnesses. I don’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes."
Asked whether she looks at her “Dust Lady” picture, Borders said she tried to avoid it as much as possible.
"I try to take myself from being a victim to being a survivor," she said. "I don’t want to be a victim anymore."
Her daughter, Noelle, told the New York Post that she will remember her mother as a fighter and a hero.
"My mom fought an amazing battle. Not only is she 'Dust Lady,' but she is my hero and she will forever live through me."
Around 3,700 survivors and first responders at the site of the 9/11 attacks have been diagnosed with cancer, according the CDC’s Worth Trade Center Health Program reports. The reports found that multiple chemical carcinogens were released as a result of the towers’ collapse.