Retired nurse Iris Meda wanted to train student nurses for the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. At 70 years old, Iris began teaching dual-credit high school nursing students at Collin College in September.

In mid October, she tested positive for COVID-19, and was admitted into the hospital. A month later, she was dead. 

“Her positivity helped her survive a lot of challenges in her life, including losing one of her two daughters, Tanya Meda Bui, to cancer in June 2013,” her loved ones wrote on a GoFundMe page. “Iris loves Jesus with all her heart and we believe she is enjoying eternity in his presence.” 

Iris meda / gofundme

Her loved ones turned to GoFundMe on Nov. 21, seeking $20,000 for hospital bills, funeral expenses, and a scholarship fund in her name. Shortly after local news outlets picked up her story last week, Meda’s loved ones exceeded the $20,000 goal and raised it to $40,000. As of this writing, they have raised nearly $27,000 from about 600 donors. 

“Just read the article in the Dallas Morning News about Iris Meda’s amazing spirit and service to her community, profession, and family; and wanted to be part of one of many people letting the family know that Ms Meda will not be forgotten,” one donor wrote. 

“We all appreciate the selflessness of Iris Meda in doing what every teacher would do: to teach a new generation valuable skills that are desperately needed right now,” wrote another donor about the Collin College teacher. “Iris embodies what all teachers aspire to, and we thank her for being an inspiration to us all.”

Iris was a high school dropout who earned her GED and eventually became a registered nurse. She retired from North Texas Job Corps in January. But retirement didn’t last long. Nine months later, she was teaching at the community college. 

After contracting COVID-19 in October, Iris began receiving get-well cards and encouragement from her students. Yet her condition continued to worsen and eventually she was put on a ventilator. Dressed in PPE, her husband, who is 75, and her daughter were allowed to be by her side when she died. 

“[She was] so willing to put her life on the line so they could then help others,” her daughter told NBC 5 news. “To see her languishing there […] was such a tragedy.” 

To donate to Iris’ GoFundMe page visit

Christian McPhate

Christian has been working as a freelance journalist in North Texas for more than a decade. His stories have appeared in the Dallas Observer, the Houston Press, and Rolling Stone magazine. He covers a...