A WOMAN'S appeal to save her husband's life has drawn a massive response - with more than 100 people coming forward as potential living donors.

Volunteers from as far afield as Canada and the US have asked to be tested to help Luigi Pignanelli, who desperately needs a liver transplant.

Samantha Pignanelli appealed for help after doctors told her they did not know if her husband would survive for long enough for a donor to be found. The story about his plight has now been shared around the world.

Mrs Pignanelli, who runs the Emporio Italia restaurant in Ilkley with her husband, said he had been moved to tears by the way people had reacted to the appeal.

"Luigi is very positive - it has made him feel so much better. It has put a smile on his face," she said.

Fifty people contacted the liver transplant programme at St James's Hospital in Leeds within days of the appeal being publicised. A week later that figure had more than doubled - and medical staff have told Mrs Pignanelli they have never seen a response like it.

"There has been a huge response," she said.

"They have been so inundated they couldn't get back to people as fast as they were wanting.

"There are people who have come forward from America, Canada, Scotland, London. It is amazing. I don't feel so alone now. There are so many customers of ours who have come forward to be tested ."

She said the scale of the reaction was incredible - with more than 18,000 tweets to her son's twitter account within two days of her appeal.

Now, the scores of people who have put themselves forward will start the rigorous assessment process, consisting of a number of stages, to make sure they are medically and psychologically suitable to be a donor and that they understand the risks. That process could take three to four weeks for each individual.

Mr Pignanelli, 60, first became ill on holiday in Crete last August. He was diagnosed after collapsing at work in December, and was put on the list for a liver transplant.

His wife made her impassioned plea to find a donor for part of a liver after a deterioration in his condition which almost killed him.

Anyone who wants to become a living liver donor should ring the Leeds transplant co-ordinators on 0113 206 6913.

To help Mr Pignanelli they should be blood group O positive, with a BMI under 30. They should be a non-smoker, or be prepared to stop, and should not be on the contraceptive pill, or be willing to stop. They must be over the age of 18 and in excellent mental and physical health.