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The Dallas teacher who taught during chemo treatments has died of cancer

Catrina Cooper was given just six months to live in early 2020. She kept fighting until June 7, 2021.

DALLAS — Editor's note: The above video is from our previous story that aired in April 2021. 

It was March when doctors told Catrina Cooper hospice care was likely the best choice for her.

She told them hospice wasn’t an option.

Cooper had already endured 140 hours of chemotherapy and more than two dozen rounds of radiation in an 11-month battle against advanced cervical cancer.

She’d already outlived a six-month prognosis, so she was not ready to give up the battle.

“That is a message for my students. To keep fighting, no matter what your circumstances are,” she told WFAA from her hospital bed.

Credit: Hexter Elementary

Cooper’s resilience had been a source of inspiration for her third and fourth grade students and the entire faculty and staff at Dallas ISD’s Victor H. Hexter Elementary school. 

Even during chemo treatments, she continued to teach her students over Zoom.

“It’s more than a job to me,” she said. “It’s my passion and I don’t want to let my kids down.”

Cooper was the kind of teacher every child hopes to have, her colleagues said.

Credit: Cooper Family
Hexter Elementary teacher Catrina Cooper is in the middle of a group of students celebrating Valentine's Day before she was diagnosed with cancer.

They said she would always find a way to quietly feed or clothe students who couldn’t afford meals or a new pair of pants.

Cooper passed away June 7, 2021. She was 48 years old.

Her online obituary reads: “Catrina would want each of us to set the bar high and reach for the stars, to go after life and your dreams with the same passion and excitement she had about life, to live every day without regrets of yesterday and to shop like there is no tomorrow!”

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