GREENVALE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – Hundreds of people took part in a two-day cycling event on Long Island, pedaling their hearts out to raise money for cancer research.

As CBS2’s Reena Roy reported, many of them channeled their own experiences to fight for a cure.

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Firefighters suited up in full gear and powered through an intense spin class at Equinox on Northern Boulevard in Greenvale – all for a good cause.

Lt. Daniel Quinn, of Brooklyn, participated in the Cycle for Survival on both Friday and Saturday in honor of his mother.

“My mother passed away from a rare cancer in 2016,” he told Roy. “I understand the way rare cancer is right now, it’s so underfunded. We need this money.”

He was joined by dozens of people who share a deep bond. Everyone was affected by cancer, in some way, and shared their stories of loss, survival and perseverance.

Sydney Hassenbein, 10, was diagnosed at just four years old with a rare cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.

“When I went through that, I don’t want any other kid or adult to go through any of what happened,” she said.

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She’s been cancer-free for more than four years, and she and her mom have participated since her diagnosis, fundraising with their cycling team for several months each year ahead of the event.

On Saturday, teams that have done the same celebrated their hard work.

“I’m here today to inspire people, and after I had cancer, I didn’t give up, and here I am today,” Hassenbein said. “It feels really amazing. It makes me feel so happy and good.”

Equinox instructor Kristen James cheered them on each time.

“My father, at the age of 64, passed from a glioblastoma in six months,” she told Roy. “This is the most inspiring day of the year, it’s the most motivating, and I look forward to it all year long.”

Every single dollar raised will go directly to Memorial Sloane Kettering Cancer Center.

“The money is definitely needed, because they need more research to save people’s lives — all these innocent children and adult lives,” Sydney’s mother, Jaime Hassnebein, said.

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Cycle for Survival takes place in more than a dozen cities across the country through March. This is the eighth consecutive year of rides on Long Island, and organizers say about 1,200 people participated.