NBC News Correspondent Kristen Dahlgren Leaving the Network to Start Breast Cancer Charity

The breast cancer survivor will focus on the Pink Eraser Project, which aims to connect experts to create a vaccine

<p>Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty</p> Kristen Dahlgren on <em>Today</em>.

Nathan Congleton/NBC/Getty

Kristen Dahlgren on Today.

NBC News correspondent Kristen Dahlgren announced Tuesday that she’s leaving the network to launch the Pink Eraser Project, a nonprofit organization that aims to find a vaccine for breast cancer.

It’s a personal mission for Dahlgren, who shared her struggle with breast cancer after being diagnosed with it in 2019.

In a post on Today’s website, Dahlgren, 50, explained the Pink Eraser Project will bring together experts from the nation’s leading cancer institutes —  Memorial Sloan-Kettering, MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic, UW Medicine’s Cancer Vaccine Institute and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center — to work on a vaccine.

“If I have learned anything in my decades as a journalist it is that one person really can change the world,” she wrote. “Of course, it is much more effective if it becomes a movement with everyone behind it.”

<p>Kristen Dahlgren/X</p> Kristen Dahlgren underwent chemo and radiation for breast cancer.

Kristen Dahlgren/X

Kristen Dahlgren underwent chemo and radiation for breast cancer.

“As a survivor I know first-hand that current treatments are difficult and have a lasting impact on your body,” Dahlgren, who has a daughter, Cielle, 7, said.

“I will likely never feel my little girl cuddling into my chest. Lifting my right arm is often restricted and painful. Radiation has left me with lung fibrosis, and the scars cut across my chest and abdomen are constant reminders.”

Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women under 50, the American Cancer Society recently said.

Related: Stars Who Faced Breast Cancer and Shared Their Stories

"It's a club nobody wants to join," Dahlgren wrote in a 2021 essay for Today, "but one full of women who are thoughtful and generous even while dealing with their own medical challenges."

It’s those women she hopes to unite with the Pink Eraser Project.

“Our goal is to build a pool of breast cancer survivors to help spread the word about joining trials, work with other institutions doing breast cancer vaccine research, and to partner with the hundreds of amazing support organizations that have been lifting up breast cancer patients and supporting research for years,” Dahlgren explained in her most recent essay,

She continued, “I know we are closer to a day when those who have the disease — or those at high risk of developing it — could choose a vaccine that instructs their own body to kill the cancer. I believe we’re on the cusp of having technology to make that safe, effective and affordable for everyone who wants it.”

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In 2021, researchers at the Cleveland Clinic announced that they were in phase 1 of a breast cancer vaccine trial, and in 2019, a Florida woman who participated in a trial with the Mayo Clinic recovered from breast cancer.

“Vaccines could be the way to give everyone a chance at survival,” Dahlgren wrote. “That is what the Pink Eraser Project is all about. It's a chance to erase breast cancer as a fatal disease and, someday, this could lead to vaccines for other cancers as well.”

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