HICKSVILLE - A retired FDNY firefighter from Hicksville who is battling cancer was presented with the key to New York City on Saturday.

Ray Pfiefer was honored for his contributions to getting the Zadroga Act extension passed. As News 12 has reported, the act covers health care costs for the first responders sickened after serving at Ground Zero. Funding had been set to expire, but was recently extended.

Mayor Bill de Blasio presented Pfeifer with the symbolic key at a ceremony that was also attended by comedian Jon Stewart.

Hundreds applauded as Pfeifer rose from his wheelchair to say that the legislation passed by Congress last month extends health care to tens of thousands of World Trade Center first responders.

Pfiefer is battling stage 4 renal cancer, but it didn't stop him from making more than a dozen trips to Washington to fight for the funding.

Stewart and Pfiefer spent weeks in the halls of Congress challenging lawmakers to vote for the legislation that extends federal health monitoring and treatment for Sept. 11 first responders.

Stewart made sure politicians who balked at supporting the bill were named in the media. The former "Daily Show" host says he was a "wingman" to Pfeifer and other responders.

Associated Press wire services contributed to this report.