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DAWSON CREEK, B.C. – Ryeley Palfi will be remembered fondly by his family and friends, some from around the world, thanks to his still booming Instagram and YouTube pages.

Ryeley tragically passed away on June 8th due to a motorcycle accident in Dawson Creek.

Ryeley’s father, Rick, described him as “a little bit different than anybody else.”

“He had extreme drive and dedication more than anybody I’ve ever seen in my life.”

Ryeley Palfi was born on July 16th, 2002.

He has an older brother named Brennan, a younger sister named Kameryn, a younger brother named Kash, and a “baby” five-year-old sister named Gracie.

Unfortunately, due to his size and sensitive feelings, Ryeley was bullied when he was young.

“Never had an ounce of fat on him. He was always just a thicker kid, he was very strong, very muscular, but the bullies would just call him fat,” Rick said.

Despite this, Rick says he got the boys into motocross racing pretty young, including Ryeley.

“The determination and that child from the moment he got on the bike was ‘I’m gonna win’ and ‘I’m going to go big or go home,'” explained Rick.

He added that “go big or go home” was always Ryeley’s motto and that he was getting top three in the first year of racing.

He says that both boys were winning championships all over Western Canada, and he won a whole series down on the island.

In 2010, Rick was in a terrible motocross accident that landed him not only in the hospital but in a coma.

“[I was] broken up really bad. Bunch of surgeries and steel rods and stuff. My heart stopped, and I quit breathing, and they brought me back,” he explained.

“After that moment, my ex-wife Katrina at that same time, Ryeley had a broken arm, and my son Brennan had a broke foot all from motocross, we were all in crutches and all in rough shape, she just said ‘I can’t do this anymore. This is too much, too hard on me.’ So we decided, you know what, I guess it’s probably good to quit doing this, even though we didn’t want to.”

The boys rode more that summer but decided not to do motocross anymore.

Instead, they decided to get the kids into hockey, as Rick had played hockey his entire life.

Rick says that both boys accomplished a lot very quickly, and Ryeley was team captain in no time.

“He was always a big kid. He was always strong, always solid. And usually, when he hit someone on the boards, they usually got hurt. He usually got a penalty, or they ended up going to the hospital,” he said.

“He was the gentlest, kindest, sweetest person. Most giving, helping child I’ve ever known in my entire life. And he only ever wanted to help people, but when you got him playing, and he was in his element, look out, cause he was going to take you down.”

Rick adds that once he took someone down, Ryeley was the first one there to help them up and make sure they were okay.

It wasn’t until 2014 that Rick got into the bodybuilding scene, doing his first competition in Fort St. John at 40, and that was when that scene caught Ryeley’s attention.

“From that moment on, he decided that that was what he was going to be, and he was going to be the best at it in the world,” Rick said.

“There was no stopping him. He was going to be the world champion.”

At only 12 years old, Ryeley started going to the gym with his dad in between playing hockey.

“I taught him diet, I taught him how to train, I taught him on lightweights, gave him proper form,” Rick explained.

“In a matter of no time at all, he started really reading and learning about Arnold Schwarzenegger and how he did things.”

Ryeley dove head first into this world, read many books and surrounded himself with people that knew the sport.

Ryeley started using his dad’s coach, who also taught him a lot.

“Then, he got sponsored by Markus Kaulius, which is the owner of Magnum Nutraceuticals, so he ended up becoming a sponsored athlete of Magnum, and that was about a month and a half before his first show with us in Fort St. John,” Rick said.

Rick, Ryeley and Rick’s wife got to be on the same stage in the same show, and Ryeley was only 15.

Even at his young age, he won trophies, including first place.

“He did so well that really got his social media going, and his goal in life was ‘I am going to be the best bodybuilder in the world. Men’s classic physique. I’m going to get that, Mr. Olympia and I’m going to get rich from my social media,’” he explained.

“That is going to be my business and my career. And I’m not going to take no for an answer.”

Ryeley moved out when he was 18 years old and continued pursuing his dream, including meeting his idol, Chris Bumstead, the classic men’s physique world champion.

A year and a half ago, Ryeley moved to Edmonton, where his dad said he was “just kind of floating along.”

His Instagram was at 50,000 followers, but he couldn’t gain more and was stuck in a full-time job that he hated.

“He wasn’t losing focus, but he was just really losing his real drive and purpose in that time of his life,” Rick said.

After a plea to his dad for help, Ryeley moved back home and in with his brother, where he started “accelerating” again.

His dad says that since he moved to Dawson Creek, Ryeley was getting into the spiritual world.

“He was getting into the books, The Secret, and he was reading mediation books and the power of crystals,” Rick explained.

Ryeley was learning about himself and “how he’s going to create the future that he wants, and he’s going to manifest it.”

Rick says he was more driven than he had ever seen him, and when Ryeley would come to the house for visits, he’d always be on his phone.

Rick didn’t understand why until the accident.

“I have received thousands of messages from all corners of the globe, and every message is positive, how impactful he was on their lives,” he explained.

“I’ve had multiple messages from people that have reached out to say, ‘I was in a dark place, I tried killing myself three times. And your son, I found him, and he saved me, and he got me going, and he motivated me. I’ve been in the gym for a year, I feel great, my life is good, I got a job, I got a girlfriend, I’ve never been happier. Thank you, Mr. Palfy, for raising such a sweet child. He literally saved my life.'”

Rick says he’s received hundreds of messages like those from around the world, including Peru, the UK, Iran, England, New Zealand and Australia.

“I understand why he was into his Instagram followers and Youtube videos and the content because his mission on this planet was to help and save people,” Rick said.

Rick said that Chris Bumstead reached out to him personally.

Rick adds that Ryeley’s Instagram following is up to 145 thousand and growing.

Rick says that Ryeley had only had the bike for a day when he got hit.

“The last text that I sent to him was, please, son, please be careful on that bike. Those things are so dangerous,” Rick said.

“He just said, ‘I know that. I love you. I will be, I promise.”

Rick had to run to Edmonton for some business in the city, and he would be back on June 8th.

It was beautiful outside the day he returned, and he got busy in the yard.

“It just went over my head. I got busy, and I was thinking, ‘I’ll just get ahold of him tomorrow, I got the day off tomorrow, I’ll get a hold of him,’ and ‘I got to get this yard done,'” he explained.

He went to bed that night and “didn’t think anything of it” until there was a knock at his door at 10:30 p.m.

The RCMP officer at his door was a good friend of Rick’s, but when he saw her, his heart sank, and he just knew.

“I’ve lost both my parents. I’ve been through tragedies before, and nothing compares to this feeling,” he said.

He mentions the large amount of support he has received in Ryeley’s memory.

“His memory lives on, and he will be missed.”

On Sunday, Rick went to a friend of his who does Reiki sessions and a medium friend who both had the same messages for him from his son.

“He said, ‘Dad, I love you,’ and he said, “don’t beat yourself up.’ He said, ‘you were the best father I could have ever asked for. You did exactly what a good father needed to do to his child. You were just trying to look out for me.’ He says, ‘I love you, and you did a good job. Stop worrying about it,'” Rick explained.

“And then he went on to mouth me off and say, ‘dad quit crying, don’t be so weak. You got to get on with your life.'”

Rick says that between both sessions, the message and even the wording were identical.

“The messages that I got gave me so much closure, so much relief that I can’t even explain it.”

Ryeley was days away from releasing his clothing line in partnership with some friends in the states called Ryeordie, which will be released by his dad.

A public visitation will be held on June 16th from noon to 2 p.m. at the Dawson Creek Kin Arena, with a funeral service to follow that will be live-streamed.

Rick will be delivering the eulogy and expects it to be a busy day.

Donations may be made in memory of Ryeley to the Ronald McDonald House Charities.

“Be grateful every day. Write your thoughts down, write your dreams out and don’t ever give up, even when you’re in a dark place. Just push forward and feel free to reach out to people if you’re struggling from mental problems. Feel free to reach out to anybody. Reach out to me,” Rick said.

“If you have to, I’m always there to talk to anybody that’s in need. I taught that to my kids from a young age and just don’t give up. There’s help out there, and there’s people that can help you through things, and I’m one of them. If there’s anybody who ever needs to talk, I’m always here.”

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Shailynn Foster

Shailynn Foster is a news reporter for Shailynn has been writing since she was 7 years old, but only recently started her journey as a journalist. Shailynn was born and raised in Fort St. John and she watches way too much YouTube, Netflix and Disney+ during the week while playing DND on the weekends.