Abigail Zawerton's fight against cancer is personal: She lost her left eye to a rare childhood cancer at age 3.

To help get even, the Canal Winchester resident will ride in her first Pelotonia on Aug. 5.

"Retinoblastoma is a very rare cancer that affects less than 20,000 per year," Zawerton, now 23, wrote in her online Pelotonia profile. "I have had a prosthetic eye since and receive regular care to ensure the health of my good eye. I have had countless surgeries and procedures to correct and normalize the look of my face and eye.

"As a child, I struggled with appearance issues, was picked on and had a hard time accepting my differences," she wrote. "But as I've grown over the years, I have learned to embrace my uniqueness ..."

Zawerton chose the 25-mile Pelotonia route from Columbus to Pickerington.

"I am super into community, and I love raising awareness for things that affected me and my family," she said. "My personal experience hits home and there seemed to be no better way to help than to participate in the Pelotonia ride."

She will ride in the Huntington Bank peloton.

"It is one of the biggest things we do at Huntington," she said.

She said she is new to cycling.

"I am not a cyclist, so I don't do this kind of thing regularly," she said. "I try to do at least one ride a week, but would like to do more as I get closer to the ride."

Even riders who choose the minimum 25-mile route must raise more than $1,000.

"My fundraising efforts are still a work in progress, so I have a lot to do," she said. "I posted something on my Instagram page as well as on Facebook page. We also do a lot of fundraising at Huntington, and I help to set up the events."

Training is a challenge because Zawerton works two jobs and also cares for her 4-year-old son. She said her work and family schedules leave little time for anything else.

However, Zawerton said, she is happy to be a mother.

"My son is so full of life and so amazing," she said.

Zawerton said a cancer diagnosis changes a person, no matter what his or her age.

"My cancer has made me who I am today," she said. "I graduated college, have an amazing job, am a homeowner and also have the healthiest and happiest son."

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek