Dec. 6, 2010 By Christian Murray
Kevin Czartoryski, a retired police detective, died on Sunday following a lengthy illness caused by his exposure to toxins from the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Czartoryski was the younger brother of Diane Ballek, a well-known Sunnyside figure who is the president of the 108 Police Precinct and a senior aide to Assemblywoman Cathy Nolan.
Ballek said her brother died on Sunday of complications from lung and stomach cancer at New York-Presbyterian Hospital. She said that the police were always by her family’s side, with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly paying her brother a visit.
Czartoryski’s ordeal began three years ago with an innocuous-sounding cough. At the time, Ballek insisted that he get it checked. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis, a lung disorder usually suffered by those exposed to asbestos for lengthy periods of time.
Ballek said that her brother was told that he needed a double lung transplant. He was called in four times to the hospital for a possible match. On the final occasion, May 5, 2010, Czartoryski received a single lung transplant, while the other lung remained.
“This was great news at the time,” Ballek said. “He no longer needed to walk around with an oxygen tank and could go outside.” Unfortunately, the news was short lived after Czartoryski began coughing again in September and running low-grade fevers.
Czartoryski was taken to hospital and the specialists struggled to find an answer. He came home for Thanksgiving but was then diagnosed with cancer shortly after. The cancer formed around the old lung.
The NYPD medical board determined his condition was caused by his time at ground zero, searching for remains.
“He was a strong man, 230-240 lbs and went down to 170 lbs before his death,” Ballek said. “He was 46 and should have had his whole life in front of him.”
“He was the best son and best brother you could have,” Ballek said. “He took care of my mother when she was ill.”
Czartoryski, who was gay, was the liaison between the gay community and the police while he was on the force. He was a regular visitor at the Skillman Ave. St. Patrick’s Parade for all.
Last year, Czartoryski took his siblings on a cruise. He brought on board an oxygen tank and a scooter. He had another cruise planned for his siblings this year too.
Czartoryski, who was the youngest of six children, grew up in Blissville and then moved to Maspeth in the 1990s. He joined the NYPD in 1988, and following 9/11, he worked in the public information office.
Sunnyside Chamber President Ira Greenberg, who knows the family well, said “This is a loss for everyone. Let us pray for the family.”
Wake and Funeral Services
The wake for Czartoryski will be held Tuesday and Wednesday from 2-5pm and 7-9 p.m. at Village Chapels, 67-67 Eliot Ave., Middle Village, Queens.
A Mass will be held on Thursday at 10:00am at St. Raphael’s Church, located at 3520 Greenpoint Ave. in LIC.
He will then be buried at Calvary Cemetery next to his mother and grandmother.