Credit: Bjoern Kommerell

Sometimes we can make a difference.

The Young and the Restless‘ Michelle Stafford (Phyllis) has never been one to sit idly by. So, when she learned of a tragedy that hit too close to home, she immediately took to social media to do what she could to help out all those affected.

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It all started with a simple tribute to someone she never met but knew deserved to be remembered with love.

“This beautiful boy Eddie Ornelas — just 12 years old — was shot last weekend,” Stafford wrote on Instagram. He was “a great student and loved by everyone who knew him. I am devastated by this loss. It hits me hard. L.A. is my hometown, and crime and killings are on the rise here. We must take care of each other.”

“If any of you would like to donate to Eddie’s family,” the actress continued, “the link is in my bio. Any amount is so appreciated. This beautiful boy had so many dreams and so much life to live.”

She added a link to a GoFundMe campaign begun by Eddie’s brother, Anthony, to help raise funds for his funeral. Instead of planning his goodbye, they should have been getting ready for his 13th birthday, which was just weeks away.

Followers of all stripes, whether fans or friends, responded to the actress’ post to add their sympathy and note how tragic deaths like this are becoming far too frequent.

“So devastating,” Lauralee Bell (Christine) wrote in the comments. “Too many of these tragedies. Prayers and love to the family!”

The Bold and the Beautiful‘s Don Diamont (Bill) agreed, writing, “Absolutely awful, and way too common.” It didn’t stop with the CBS sudsers, though, as daytime’s best from all four shows took in Stafford’s post. Tracey E. Bregman (Lauren) and Days of Our Lives‘ former Hope, Kristian Alfonso shared heartbreak, while General Hospital‘s Laura Wright (Carly) offered love and support.

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And that’s where this story could have ended; a touching post from an actor that shined a light on a tragedy. But it didn’t stop there. Ten days after her initial post, Stafford shared an update, and it was, as she wrote, nothing short of “amazing.

The actress began her follow-up Instagram post by explaining how she first learned of Eddie’s tragic death and the GoFundMe campaign through a post from author and producer, Patty Rodriguez. That then led to a chain of events and connections that brought about an incredible day put together in the slain boy’s memory.

“I connected up with this angel, Audrey Casas,” she wrote, “who is a teacher in Lynwood who knew Eddie and all his friends. She connected me with Eddie’s brother, then I called my friend Steve Berra who is a legend in the skate world. He put together the most epic day for Eddie and all of these kids from Lynwood skate park. Eddie’s dream was to be a pro skater.”

“These babies really got to honor Eddie in the right way,” Stafford shared. “Steve made it so incredibly special for these kids. He wanted to make a day of it for these kids and that he did… He went above and beyond.”

The actress then went on to thank everyone who made the special day possible, from Patty Rodriguez’ first post to the pro skaters who showed up for the kids. “Thank you all for reading this post and caring about this sweet boy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time,” she continued. “Thank you all for your future care. This isn’t over. More change to come.”

And if anyone can do that, it’s Stafford. It sounds like she’s already building the network needed to keep pushing for change and she challenges politicians to help make their communities safer. Plus, she noted, “I have gained new friends through this, people who really want to make a change in the community.”

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Change has to start somewhere, and though it shouldn’t have to start with a horrible loss, maybe, at the very least, something good can grow from the ashes of tragedy.

Though the problems of a fictional troublemaker are nothing like what Stafford’s tackling in real life, Phyllis is no stranger to change herself nor tragedy. So before heading out, how about flipping through a gallery of the ever-shifting life of Genoa City’s favorite redhead.