"We thought a small plane had spiraled to crash in our street," Story-Maley said. "It was the time that I cried and vented my anger."
To survive the attacks, Story-Maley picked up her children and ran for safety. She left Manhattan with her family and stayed with her in-laws down the Jersey Shore. After several days, she returned to the city and immediately began to feel complications with her breathing, as so did her 1-year-old twins, Abby and Jake.
The twins needed nebulizer treatment for their breathing - a nebulizer is plastic a apparatus that one breathes into to strengthen his or her lungs - and occasionally suffered mild asthma attacks.
Convinced that the quality of air her family was breathing was harmful to their health after Sept. 11, she decided to relocate to a modest home on Hudson Street in Hoboken.
"It's like I found the house of my dreams," Story-Maley said. "It is important that we keep the air clean for our children."
Fortunately, Story-Maley's friends had all made it out.
After Sept. 11, she decided to run the "Shamrock Run" marathon to be held in Virginia March 16, and use that event to raise money for the American Lung Association.
Story-Maley is calling her fund-raising the "Breath of Angels" fund. All the proceeds will go to the ALA and increase awareness about cities' air quality.
"I will run and push the limits of my lungs in hopes that everyone can have a chance to breathe," Story-Maley said last week. "I will run for all of the children who cannot afford a nebulizer and the workers who are paying for their efforts with their very breath."
Story-Maley always wanted to run a marathon, but never had the time. As a professional fitness personality with degrees in health education and appearances on national television and periodicals, she said she never had the time to run 26.2 miles.
"I decided I was going to do the one thing I had always said I wanted to and had never done," she said. "I was going to run a marathon."
Story-Maley contacted the American Lung Association of the City of New York. After speaking to ALA representative Louise Leavitt, Story-Maley created the "Breath of Angels" fund designed to raise money and awareness about respiratory problems.
For six months, she has been training in Hoboken's majestic waterfront overlooking Manhattan's skyline, running miles every morning. Story-Maley has been involved in physical fitness all her life, but the marathon is something she was not prepared for, she admits.
Story-Maley has been featured on shows on NBC, ESPN, CBS, and she has contributed to periodicals like Self, Fitness, Fit, Spa, and Amica. She studied at the College of St. Rose in Albany, N.Y. She then went on to study health education at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh.
ALA Spokeswoman Louise Leavitt was thrilled to hear from Story-Maley. She was captivated by her story and said that her dedication is already bringing newfound support for the ALA.
"She is looking for a way to contribute to the cause and that's great," Leavitt said. "It has become more common for people to volunteer since September."
Story-Maley will be competing in the Shamrock Run in Virginia Beach, Va. on March 16. Approximately 200 runners will take part in the event.
To contribute to the "Breath of Angels" fund, checks should be made payable to: The American Lung Association of New York; Elizabeth Story-Maley c/o M3; 1133 Broadway, Suite 1023; New York, NY 10010. For more information go to www.fittobetied.cc/breathofangels.htm.