The breast cancer survivor will focus on the Pink Eraser Project, which aims to connect experts to create a vaccine
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.”
“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.
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,
An estimated 43,000 people will die from breast cancer this year. @kristendahlgren reports on the race to develop vaccines for cancer, the deeply personal project ‘The Pink Eraser Project’ and the reason behind her decision to leave NBC News. pic.twitter.com/w7r0zoPubr
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) January 30, 2024
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.”
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.
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.”
For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!
Read the original article on People.