After fitness trainer Paulette Medley donated a kidney to her ex-husband, she was inspired to do even more — by honoring her donation in a pretty permanent way.
On Thursday, World Kidney Day, Medley will participate in a live tattoo demonstration to raise awareness for kidney health as part of the Heart Your Kidneys campaign.
"A tattoo is a great conversation piece, right out there for conversation and explanation," Medley tells Refinery29. "I want people to ask me about my tattoo so I can tell my story to others who are inspired to give and to take care of their kidneys."
Medley, who says she was thrilled to be a part of the donation process, says that it was an unforgettable experience.
"I hope this will inspire more people to give, and to take care of their precious kidneys," she said. "Kidney disease is very preventable in most cases."
Amanda Wachob, the tattoo artist who will ink Medley during an event at the New York Historical Society, concurred that tattoos are a great way of starting a conversation that could draw more attention to kidney health.
"Tattoos have a way of connecting people, they give people a reason to be curious about one another," Wachob tells us. "Paulette has chosen to put her tattoo on the outside of her arm — a very visible area. The hope is that people will ask her questions about what her tattoo means, and that she'll be able to talk about her experience."
"This is a great way to raise awareness around a very serious issue that affects many people's lives," she added.
Your kidneys, of course, keep your body regulated by balancing fluids, and removing waste products from the body. And when the kidney is affected by disease, it can lead to detrimental kidney failure. The Heart Your Kidneys campaign hopes to get people talking about a part of the body that we don't often think about when it comes to our overall health.
"When it comes to vital organs, hearts get all the love," Kevin Longino, CEO of National Kidney Foundation, said in a statement shared with Refinery29. "Kidneys get the short end of the stick. But kidneys are essential to keeping you healthy — when your kidneys stop working, so do you."
Wachob and Medley will be participating in the live tattoo demonstration at the NY Historical Society from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.