The University of Iowa’s Big Event is set to take place in less than a month. Thousands of students will come together to dance for 24 hours and raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer patients. What we will accomplish will make a huge difference in the lives of the children and their families; however, we aren’t the only school in the Big Ten who are fighting for the kids with cancer.

University of Iowa vs. Penn State

  • UI’s DM started in 1994 , and Penn States’s DM began in 1973.
  • UI’s funds help the children at University of Iowa’s Hospitals and Clinics. Penn State pairs with The Four Diamonds fund where the parents of children being treated at Hershey Hospital are never given a bill.
  • The University of Iowa’s Big Event lasts 24 hours, but Penn State’s lasts 46.
  • In order to be a dancer at UI, you must be a UI student and raise $450 dollars. To become a dancer at Penn State is more of a process. You can either join as an independent, organization, or in your fraternity and sorority. If you dance independently, you must raise $2,500 on your own. If you entering as a part of an organization or in your sorority or fraternity, the entire group must raise $2,500. Each organization can only have ten dancers. If it is your first year as a dancer or an organization, you are entered into a lottery. Each $2,500 you raise earns you one ticket into the lottery. They can only allow a certain amount into the Big Event due to space.
  • UI hosts family speakers every hour, but Penn State has “the final four” where four families tell their stories during the last four hours of the event.
  • Both UI and Penn State have mail call where they can get inspirational letters.
  • UI hosts their pep team at the beginning of the event, whereas Penn State dedicates one hour on Saturday for a pep rally.
  • UI hosts numerous family invents throughout the year including Adventureland, Fun City, Family Picnic, A Trip to Bloomsbury Farms, Mini Dance Marathons, and DM members also help at Camp Heart Connection. UI also hosts a family brunch and has a family speaker at every monthly Dance Marathon meeting. Penn State has a Family Carnival, 5K, and a Road to Thon Celebration during their year.
  • The money raised at UI helps pay for meals at the hospital, parking passes, games, food, monthly meetings of the sibling support group, continental breakfast for every unit every Friday, new wigs, for a sibling of a pediatric cancer patient to attend a summer camp, pediatric cancer patient to attend summer camp, medications, funerals, and more. Penn State’s money raised go towards medicals, research, and other various things.
  • UI DM represents 700+ families, and Penn State helps 350+.
  • Since they began, UI has raised $12.7 million and Penn State has raised over $100 million.


When it comes down to it, we are all dancers who are fighting pediatric cancer! All we do in both schools for both Dance Marathons is FOR THE KIDS.




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