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Hero Cop Riddled with Cancer After 9/11 Rescues, Dies 7 Months After Giving Birth

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Kelly Korchak was smart, observant and kind. Those qualities are part of what led to her desire to be a teacher — but when she repeatedly failed to find suitable work, she had to set her sights on something else.

Her dad had some sage advice for her, as dads often do: Why not try taking the police exam and see where that led?

So she did. And she picked it up as if she were made for it.

“She took to it and she had good instincts,” Denise Korchak, her mother, said. “She was good at reading people. She was meant to be a cop.”

She helped out when The Twin Towers fell. She was at ground zero for two weeks.

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Eventually, she joined an evidence collection team, where her intelligence and keen eye for detail helped her crack several cases and earned her multiple cop of the month awards.

“She loved it,” her husband, Steve Attarian, said. “She was very meticulous. If there was evidence, she would find it. She liked getting the perp for the victims and their families.”



Not only was she smart as a whip, she was a devoted family member and an accomplished baker. She was the loudest cheering section of the stands at games for her nephews and nieces, and she would bake people’s problems away.

“She made something for everyone,” her sister said. “She baked for others, to make them happy. She never let it affect her personality.”

Last October, Korchak noticed her leg was swollen when she got home from her shift. She got some bad news: blood clots.

Two of them. One had already ruptured — but that wasn’t even the worst news.

When they ran tests and took x-rays, they found something harrowing. Her lungs were peppered with cancer. Attarian remembers the moment they found out.

“The four doctors came in and formed a circle of doom around her,” he said. “They said, ‘You have spots all over your lungs.’ It looked like someone shot her lungs with a paintball gun.”

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But Korchak was pregnant and didn’t want to harm her child. So she opted for a treatment that wouldn’t put her baby at risk.



After her son was born in December, she started chemotherapy, but in March they discovered it wasn’t helping and the cancer was continuing to spread.

“She asked the doctor to just give her a year,” Attarian said. “She never got to be a mother to him. She would always say, ‘I’m going to get better for him.'”

“She went through hell, but I thought she would beat it,” he said. “My wife was tough as nails. She was my hero.”

On June 10, she lost her battle with cancer at the young age of 38. Having accomplished so much in her time on Earth, she left behind a family who is grieving but cherishing their memories of who she was and how much strength she had.

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