An appeal by R&B singer Rihanna has helped save the life of an American woman suffering from cancer after she found a suitable bone marrow donor.

The Grammy-award winning artist had appealed through People magazine after learning of Lisa Gershowitz, who was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukaemia – cancer of the blood and bone marrow - last November.

The mother-of-two was had been told by doctors she had only six weeks to live.

But in an email to supporters, the New York lawyer said: "Today a 32-year-old guardian angel consented to be my donor, even though in all likelihood she has never met me and does not know who I am.

"While we cannot verify the source of the donor, this angel was most likely found through the efforts of my family and friends, as well as complete strangers who heard about my story and took it upon themselves to aid in the effort to find a donor."

Speaking to People magazine, the executive vice president at the German-based donor network which provided Ms Gershowitz with her "guardian angel", said the organisation had been contacted by 5,000 people since it published the Rihanna story.

"We actually recruited and registered roughly 2,000 new donors, just from phone calls and emails we got – and it's continuing," DKMS' Katharina Harf said.

In her email, Ms Gershowitz urged people to "spread the word" about the importance of filling the bone marrow registry.

"The English language does not have words that are adequate to thank someone for working to save your life," she said.

Speaking to People earlier this year, Rihanna, who was nominated in the best international female singer category at this year's Brits, said: "When I heard about Lisa's plight, my heart broke."

07/03/2008 14:43:12