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DETROIT (AP) - General Motors Corp. says it will spend more than $1 million in the next six months to launch organ, bone-marrow and stem-cell donor drives among its 395,000 employees.
"My hope is that we will physically bring testing facilities to our facilities and use our own nursing people to get this done," said GM Vice Chairman Harry Pearce, a leukemia patient. "There's no reason why we can't go into facilities and have a SWAT team to fight this stuff."

Part of the initiative will be educational, telling the benefits of organ donation after death, The Detroit News said Tuesday. It probably will be done through videotapes.

Another part will be blood drives to match bone-marrow and stem-cell donors to recipients, especially among black and Hispanic employees.

Those groups tend to be underrepresented on national registry lists. Whites have about an 84 percent chance of finding a match, while blacks have about a 55 percent chance, according to the National Marrow Donor Program.

"This is a big deal," said Dr. Jill McGovern, chief executive officer of the Washington, D.C.-based Marrow Foundation. The organization works with the National Marrow Donor Program to raise money from corporations and foundations. "There's nothing that's been done on the scale that GM is considering."

Pearce said he developed the idea in the hours and days after his own 1998 stem-cell transplant and chemotherapy treatment in Seattle.

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