Madison (WKOW) -- from UW Health: Eighteen years ago, Dr. Jeffrey Hass didn't think he'd see his three children grow up.
And he never imagined he would be alive to see his three grandchildren.
In 1991, at the age of 33, Hass, a chiropractor who practices in Freeport, Illinois, was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia.
"After some initial treatment, I had run out of options. The prognosis was not good," said Hass. "When my doctors came to me with the option of a bone marrow transplant, a new but risky treatment at the time, I didn't think I had a choice. I had to do it for my three little children."
In 1992, Hass became the first patient at University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics to undergo a bone marrow transplant (BMT) with marrow from an unrelated donor.
Sixteen years later, not only is Hass enjoying his children and grandchildren, he lives to see a milestone in the BMT program-the 1500th bone marrow transplant.
"I'm deeply grateful to the bone marrow transplant team for the unbelievable and personal care and most of all, for a second chance at life," said Hass.
"When the program started and bone marrow transplant was evolving, we did less than a handful of transplants a year. Now we perform roughly 120 bone marrow transplants each year," said Dr. Walter Longo, director of the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplant program.
Longo has been with the program since its inception in 1980.
The milestone transplant occurred in October when the BMT team performed 19 total transplants during the month.
The program recently began to offer double cord blood stem cell transplants for adults.
The first pediatric cord blood stem cell transplant was done at the UW Hospital and Clinics in 1997.
In August, the UW also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the first successful allogeneic bone marrow transplants.
A team lead by Dr. Fritz Bach performed a successful BMT just three days after a similar procedure at the University of Minnesota in 1968.
In addition to earning accreditation from the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy, the first facility in Wisconsin to receive the designation, the program is also a marrow collection center and a transplant center for the National Marrow Donation Program (NMDP).