Confusion about who can and cannot give blood is being blamed for a sharp drop in donors.
According to figures for England, there are 40% fewer donors today than there were a decade ago.
It's spurred a campaign to try and get more people to come forward and donate.
Hannah McNulty reports.
An appeal is being made for blood donors across Cumbria, after it was revealed that 40% fewer new volunteers came forward across England and North Wales compared to a decade ago.
As part of the national Blood Donor week, the organisation is calling for more people to help fill the gaps in the county.
Most people give gifts to their friends each Christmas but this year NHS Blood and Transplant are asking people to give something to a stranger.
They are appealing for more people in Cumbria to give blood this Christmas to help those in need of transfusions over the festive period, a time when, traditionally, stocks are low.
Tim Backshall reports:
The director of an outdoor adventure centre in the Lake District says he wouldn't be alive if it wasn't for the blood transfusion he received after a road accident.
Sean Day from the Lake District Calvert Trust is now supporting a campaign to encourage more people to give blood over the Christmas period, when supplies are usually low.
The NHS Blood and Transplant service is urging people in Cumbria to give blood in the run-up to Christmas.
The service warns that blood stocks can run low between November and New Year, because people are busy with festive preparations.
Hospitals across England and Wales require around 7,000 units of blood a day. The NHS says only 4% of the eligible population are active blood donors.