Dan Johnson walks the ceremonial first lap with his children, Brad and Amber, to kick off Saturday's Relay for Life at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds.

Texas County residents gathered Saturday to raise funds for those whose lives have been affected by cancer. The event — a remembrance of those lost and those battling — was Relay for Life, an American Cancer Society activity that raises thousands of dollars annually in the region.

About 250 people gathered at the community building at the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds on North U.S. 63, said Courtney Furgerson, community manager for the American Cancer Society in Springfield.

Teams representing a cross-section of the county competed to raise the most money. At the end of the night, nearly $29,000 had been raised. Top teams so far are: Houston School District, $5,948, whose team captain is Terisa Ward; Western Dairy Transport, Cabool, $5,246, Sarah Jones, team captain; and Shooting Stars, $3,804, Carolyn Pounds, team captain.

Top individuals are Carol Woods, $900, Roby team; Kathy Williams, $675, Roby team; and Carolyn Pounds, $460, Shooting Stars team.

Those attending participated in a variety of games — ranging from bingo to a scavenger hunt. Survivors walked a lap and a luminaria ceremony honored many.

“We will continue to accept donations for this year’s event until Aug. 23 to help us get closer to our goal of $40,000,” she said. Donations can be made to teams, individuals or to the county event at www.relayforlife.org/texascomo.

An event wrap-up party is planned for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 11. A location will be announced later.

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