News From Terre Haute, Indiana


December 7, 2011

Beating the odds: Now cancer free, Prevo avoids surgery

TERRE HAUTE — For the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team, bald is beautiful.

That’s because Jon Prevo, beginning his sixth season as its head coach after serving 12 seasons as a men’s basketball assistant at the engineering institute, has watched hair fall off the top of his head from cancer-related chemotherapy treatments since May.

Prevo, 51, first noticed discomfort in his upper esophagus and upper abdominal region in late April. At first, his family doctor — Mark Schuld — thought he might have acid reflux disease.

But when Prevo started vomiting later that week, drastic action became necessary.

“I thought it was something that might go away on its own,” he told the Tribune-Star. “But when the vomiting started, I got sick real quick. . . I had lost 11 pounds in about four days.”

His wife Deanna suggested he check into the Union Hospital emergency room that weekend. Heart problems were ruled out, then he received IV fluids and started to feel better.

Schuld ordered new tests the next day. Results of an upper gastrointestinal (GI) exam revealed there was a cancerous mass in Prevo’s stomach.

Football-sized tumor

“The tumor had gotten so large that nothing could pass through my stomach and anything I took by mouth had to go somewhere,” Prevo explained over the weekend. “It was about the size of a football.”

At the time, Schuld told Prevo: “I need to put you in the hospital immediately.”

Prevo recalled Schuld saying the tumor could be a treatable type or it could be an untreatable type that requires immediate surgery to remove it.

Prevo was transferred to Indiana University Hospital in Indianapolis, where doctors inserted a feeding tube so he could receive nutrition. By early May, the 6-foot-4 Prevo had lost 15-16 pounds.

“For over three weeks, I couldn’t take anything by mouth,” he pointed out.

On May 19, Prevo and his family received the final diagnosis — Burkitt’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a form of cancer.

“We were caught off guard and really shocked,” reflected Prevo, who had no prior history with cancer.

“But with the kind of cancer I had, the best-case scenario was that it’s treatable… They started me on chemotherapy that night.”

His chemo treatments lasted four days and occurred every three weeks. He underwent a total of eight treatments.

By mid-May, Rose-Hulman players knew only that Prevo had been sick in the hospital, but they didn’t know why. So before most of them left Terre Haute for the summer, he invited them to his home in Riley, where Deanna and Rose women’s assistant coach Kevin Robinson helped give them the news.

“My wife reiterated to all the girls that my expectations for them had not changed and that I would be fine,” Prevo noted.

Among those feeling the saddest was senior forward Alisa Dickerson, who appreciated Prevo helping her deal with tough times off the basketball court.

“My mom had cancer the first three years of my college career,” she explained. “It was a serious situation.”

So learning that Prevo also had cancer was almost more than Dickerson could take.

“It hits you pretty hard,” she said. “It was one of those ‘here we go again’ things.”

‘A blessing to see him on the court’

Over time, Prevo started seeing light at the end of the tunnel, even if he couldn’t see hair on top of his head.

The chemo had shrunk the tumor in his stomach, so Prevo was gradually able to take liquids and soft food orally again. Then he advanced to solid food, which proved the chemo treatments were working.

Fortunately for the Prevos, no surgeries would be needed.

Last Thursday, Prevo received word from one of his doctors that his latest CT scan came back clean and he would no longer receive treatments.

He informed his players at practice Thursday night.

“They were very happy for me,” Prevo said as his voice cracked. “It was an emotional time for me, sharing that with them.”

“There were hugs and tears,” Dickerson mentioned.

Now cancer free, Prevo must schedule follow-up appointments with his doctors. But for the most part, the Prevo family believes the worst is over. In addition to his wife, Prevo has a 16-year-old son, Nicholas, and one stepson, Sean Leitgabel.

“My stamina and endurance are not anywhere near where they were before I got sick,” Prevo admitted, although he hopes to be back to normal in another four to six months.

He’s back up to 230 pounds, about 15 pounds less than his pre-cancer weight.

Also worth noting, this wasn’t the first time that the Prevos endured a cancer scare. Deanna previously battled breast cancer.

“One of the biggest sources of motivation for me during my treatments was my wife having breast cancer,” Jon Prevo acknowledged. “It’s been eight years [last week] since she first started her chemotherapy. . . and she has beaten it. She’s been cancer free for six years.”

Remembering her strength during that time, even though hers was a different type of cancer, gave him the strength to proclaim: “I can fight this too.”

The grateful Prevo also praised Robinson and new Rose-Hulman women’s assistant Molly Martin for filling in on coaching responsibilities when he couldn’t.

Now Prevo considers coaching the Engineers part of his therapy.

“The game of basketball has helped with my recovery,” he said, “along with my family and friends.”

Others involved in Wabash Valley basketball are glad to see him back in action.

“The blessing is that Jon Prevo is able to coach still — with the health issues he’s had to deal with,” St. Mary-of-the-Woods College coach Deanna Bradley emphasized after her Pomeroys defeated Rose last week in Hulbert Arena.

“It is just a blessing to see him on the court. It was great to see him. You know what, when things like that hit you in life, basketball is just a game. That’s all it is.”

With Prevo much healthier than he was seven months ago, Rose-Hulman will play a Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference game tonight at Manchester.

Who loves ya, baby?

On the lighter side, Prevo admits that some of his longtime acquaintances have trouble recognizing him with a bald head and no beard.

“It’ll eventually come back,” he said of his hair.

Prevo is not sure if he wants to continue with the bare look on top, thinking he might resemble the late Telly Savalas, an old-school reference totally lost on his young players.

“I think I’ll initially let it grow back and see how it looks,” he concluded.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • Metro roundup: ISU trails by 4 with 18 holes left

    Indiana State is four shots out of the lead and McCall Christopher five shots from the individual lead after the second of three rounds of the Missouri Valley Conference golf championships was completed Monday at Panther Creek Country Club.

    April 22, 2014

  • SPT 040814 SCHULT DISCUS.jpg Rose-Hulman’s Schultheis brothers making mark in HCAC indoor, outdoor championships

    Four words you won’t hear used together during a Rose-Hulman track practice: “Schultheis, get over here.”
    If someone were to mistakenly make that request, three brothers from the same family might respond.

    April 10, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: Locks of Love tournament today at Memorial Stadium

    The Indiana State Women’s Soccer team will host its annual Locks of Love tournament today. The 4th annual event will begin at 9 a.m. at Memorial Stadium.

    April 4, 2014

  • Metro sports: ISU blanks Austin Peay in 6-plus innings

    Indiana State’s baseball team posted another mid-week victory Wednesday night as four pitchers combined to throw a three-hit shutout and lead a 3-0 victory over Austin Peay State at Bob Warn Field.

    April 2, 2014

  • Rose-Hulman baseball goes to 7-0 in HCAC

    Rose-Hulman improved to 7-0 in Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference baseball action and won its ninth straight game with an 8-4 victory over Franklin on Tuesday night at Art Nehf Field.
    Rose battled back from deficits of 2-0 with two runs in the fourth and 4-2 with two more in the fifth to knot the score at 4-4. A three-run sixth inning and clutch pitching in the eighth secured the victory.

    April 1, 2014

  • Stout_action3.jpg Dedicated to helping others

    It’s not like Marissa Stout is bored out of her mind and lacking for things to do.

    March 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • Metro sports: ISU’s Stone, Riemenschneider honored by MVC

    Indiana State junior Megan Stone and freshman Brooke Riemenschneider each earned Missouri Valley Conference Athlete of the Week honors, according to an announcement from the league office Monday.

    March 31, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rose's Stull, Schultheis earn HCAC honors

    Rose-Hulman took two Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference honors this week, with Andrew Stull and Austin Schultheis recognized for their work over the weekend.

    March 24, 2014

  • Rose-Hulman's Orion Martin is All-America swimmer

    Rose-Hulman sophomore Orion Martin became the third All-America swimmer in Engineers history Thursday night, placing seventh in the men’s 100-yard butterfly in the NCAA Division III championships at the IUPUI Natatorium.

    March 20, 2014

  • SPT031914 ISUSB stone.jpg Metro sports: Alvarez helps ISU softball gain home sweep

    Junior Yvette Alvarez pitched a complete-game win in the opener and hit her first career home run in the second game to lead the Indiana State softball team to a doubleheader sweep in its home opener Wednesday at Price Field.

    March 19, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro sports: Strickland earns spot in national all-star game

    Rose-Hulman’s Julian Strickland will participate in the Reese’s® Division III College All-Star Game at the NCAA Division III Final Four this weekend.

    March 17, 2014

  • Rose’s Stull pitches well in losing cause

    Andrew Stull made a strong bid to stay in the Rose-Hulman baseball starting pitching rotation Friday evening, but his lack of support — offensively and defensively — still added up to a 7-0 loss as the Engineers opened the Rose-Hulman Invitational against Concordia Chicago.

    March 14, 2014

  • Metro Sports: ISU baseball’s winning streak halted at 12

    The UNC-Wilmington Seahawks scored on a walk-off single in the ninth inning to end Indiana State’s 12-game winning streak in baseball with a 3-2 victory Friday at Brooks Field.

    March 14, 2014

  • hong-ac.jpg Another Rose freshman making big splash

    The Rose-Hulman men’s swimming team received a much-needed boost last season when a talented freshman from Ohio entered to set school records, rack up conference titles and qualify for the NCAA Division III championships. So when the Rose women’s swimming team needed a boost this season, what did it do? Yep, the Engineers found another talented freshman from Ohio to do pretty much the same things.

    March 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Metro sports: Indiana State's Abdul-Qaadir honored by MVC again

    Bilquis Abdul-Qaadir of Indiana State has been named Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week for women’s basketball, the league announced Monday.

    March 10, 2014

  • Metro sports: Rose-Hulman picks up baseball win

    A late run in the eighth-inning broke a 4-all tie and proved to be the game winner for Rockford College in a 5-4 decision over the Rose-Hulman baseball team Friday at the Chain of Lakes Complex.

    March 7, 2014

  • Metro Sports: Sycamores to be represented at NCAA indoors

    Three members of the Indiana State track and field team will compete in the 2014 NCAA indoor championships March 14-15 at Albuquerque, N.M. Senior Greggmar Swift will represent the men, while sophomore Katie Wise and senior Mary Theisen will represent the women.

    March 5, 2014

  • SPT 110913 STRICKLAND 3.jpg Rose’s Strickland named HCAC MVP again, Shaw wins Coach of the Year

    Rose-Hulman senior guard Julian Strickland has been named the 2013-2014 Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player and headlines the 12-member All-HCAC first and second teams for men’s basketball, according to an announcement from the league Tuesday.
    It is the second straight HCAC MVP honor for Strickland, becoming the first player since Franklin’s Jason Sibley (1997-98 and 1998-99) to earn back-to-back MVP awards. Sibley was a graduate of Terre Haute South High School.

    March 4, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro roundup: Rose baseball loses 7-0 in Florida

    Mount Union University remained unbeaten this baseball season with a 7-0 victory over Rose-Hulman in a rain-shortened game Tuesday.
    Mount Union improved to 5-0 when the game was called after eight innings due to significant rain.

    March 4, 2014

  • strickland.jpg Rose meets Wheaton in NCAA opener

    Rose-Hulman will open its third straight trip to the NCAA Division III basketball tournament at 5:30 p.m. Friday when the Engineers play Wheaton in a four-team regional hosted by Hope College.

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • Metro: No ISU baseball today; home opener now Friday

    Indiana State’s baseball home opener that was to be played today has been pushed back, according to Sycamore head coach Mitch Hannahs.

    March 3, 2014

  • Engineers, Hanover to vie for HCAC title

    For the second year in a row, the men’s basketball teams of Rose-Hulman and Hanover will square off for the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament championship in Terre Haute.

    February 28, 2014

  • Metro: ISU softball win streak reaches 6

    Indiana State improved its college softball winning streak to six games Friday by beating Wright State 4-3 and IUPUI 3-2 on the opening day of the Holiday Inn Hilltopper Classic.

    February 28, 2014

  • Rose coach expects wide-open race for HCAC title

    Both Rose-Hulman basketball programs hope their teams will still be talked about in the Wabash Valley media after this weekend when they compete in their Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournaments.

    February 26, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Hutson awarded USA Track and Field grant

    Terre Haute native and 2016 Olympic hopeful Kylie Hutson was awarded a $7,000 grant from the USA Track and Field Foundation.

    February 26, 2014

  • jenkins1.jpg Rose coach still ‘hanging around’

    Approaching the start of his 25th season as Rose-Hulman’s baseball coach, Jeff Jenkins remembers some of his 601 victories, most of his teams’ highlights from five NCAA Division III tournament appearances and pretty much all of Art Nehf Field’s significant upgrades. He also can count on one hand how many times that umpires have tossed him from a game — two.

    February 24, 2014 2 Photos

  • Rose-Hulman men lose game, gain co-HCAC title

    Despite a loss at Mount St. Joseph on Saturday afternoon, the Rose-Hulman men’s basketball team earned a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference title and will host the semifinal and championship rounds of this week’s league tournament.
    Mount St. Joseph improved to 16-8 overall and finished fourth in the league standings after a 69-57 victory. Rose completed its regular season with a 20-5 mark for the sixth 20-win season in its men’s basketball history.

    February 22, 2014

  • Female Engineers climb into HCAC tourney with win at Mount St. Joseph

    Led by 16 points from senior Kelsey Ploof, the Rose-Hulman women’s basketball team defeated Mount St. Joseph 58-51 in its regular-season finale Saturday to clinch the final spot in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference tournament.
    The Engineers (10-15, 8-10 HCAC) earned the sixth seed in the upcoming league tournament and will face Franklin in the quarterfinals Friday at tournament host Transylvania in Lexington, Ky. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.

    February 22, 2014

  • Metro roundup: Rose-Hulman men clinch share of HCAC title

    Rose-Hulman clinched at least a share of the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference men’s basketball championship and will host the league tournament starting Feb. 28 after winning 71-69 at Franklin on Wednesday night.

    February 19, 2014

  • SPT021214RHITMBB houpt.jpg Rose’s Alec Houpt hopes to make fifth Division III tournament appearance

    Is Alec Houpt the good-luck charm for Rose-Hulman athletics?
    Should his likeness appear on a box of Lucky Charms cereal?
    Houpt admits he’s not a star in any sport, yet he’s been a member of four teams that have advanced to the NCAA Division III tournament. They were men’s soccer as a sophomore (2011) and senior (2013) and men’s basketball as a sophomore (2011-12) and junior (2012-13).

    February 19, 2014 1 Photo

Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Raw: Man Fatally Shot During Police Standoff Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Raw: Tesla Delivers First China Cars 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Raw: Sinkhole Swallows Part of Fla. Yard Raw: Royal Couple Tours Uluru in Australia Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting Hong Kong Residents Help Create Green Roofs Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
NDN Video
Viral: It's Not Pitbull - It's Amy Poehler! Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Jenna Dewan-Tatum Strips Down Rise of the Milkbots TRENDING: Brian Williams Raps 'Gin and Juice' on ‘Tonight Show’ Middle School heroes rescue students from burning bus WHOPPER OF FISHING STORY: Florida man catches massive Mako shark Maks Chmerkovskiy's "DWTS" Meltdown The many faces of Mike Woodson Ape Builds A Fire And Toasts Marshmallows In Amazing BBC Video Manchester Utd sack manager David Moyes "RHOA's" Dramatic Brawl High school, College Drug Ring Busted In Montgomery County High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Raw: Keflezighi, Jeptoo Win Boston Marathon Teen hitchhikes in wheel well of flight from California to Hawaii Lindsay Lohan's Jaw-Dropping Secret President Sends Message To Boston And Marathon Runners LA Pastor Attracts Churchgoers with Pot Lauren Stoner Shows Off Her Incredible Bikini Body

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010