September 2006, and Lauren Manning looks terrific.
Striding across the lobby of a Manhattan high-rise, she exudes the confidence she once routinely projected as a senior vice president and partner at Cantor Fitzgerald, the bond-trading firm that lost 658 people on September 11, 2001. That day as she entered the building, a fireball raced down the elevator shaft and blasted her back out, burning more than 82% of her body. Doctors gave her just a 15% chance of surviving.
“I really am feeling great,” she says by way of introduction. “I have a lot more strength and am ready to move forward with a more normal life — which is a tonic in itself.”
Now 45, Lauren cannot believe that five years have passed since 9/11. Tyler was just ten months old when his mother dashed out of their Greenwich Village apartment on her way to work. She was running late. Greg — then a senior vice president, director of sales and marketing with Euro Brokers, and now a vice president of intellectual property with Cantor Fitzgerald — had an 8:30 a.m. conference at Tower One’s Windows on the World. But he missed the meeting because he, too, was running late. If everything had gone as planned, Lauren would have been on the 105th floor and Greg would have been on the 107th when the plane hit.
During Lauren’s long road back to health — an excruciating process she once described as pushing a rock uphill every day — she’s endured more than 25 surgeries, including skin grafts and scar revisions to her back, face, and hands. The physical breakthroughs have been hard won. She’s finally shed the stifling pressure garments she wore 23 hours a day to keep scar tissue from forming; last year she finished five years of rehab treatments.
Some people like to travel by train because it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of an airplane.
I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”
“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” —Everyone following you on Instagram
A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.
Comedian Greg Davies
Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.
Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.
My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me everything you know.”
“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” —Alcohol
@yoyoha (Josh Hara)
My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.
Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?
A: A mechanic.
More About Survival Stories
What You’re Sharing
- Getting in Trouble in 10th-Grade English Class Got Her a Seat Next to the Love of Her Life
- How “West Side Story” Led to This Couple’s Forbidden Love Story
- Her Dad Left Japan to Avoid One War and Returned to Live Through Another
- These Ingenious Saddles Are Changing the Lives of Disabled People, and It’s Amazing
- I Won a Date with a Hollywood Movie Star in 1956, and Here’s the Magical Way It Turned Out