Riley was born at Cedars Sinai, in Los Angeles, CA 7am, Cedars, LA. 6 weeks early – a preemie, at just under 4lbs.
In that first week, Riley was gifted the now infamous ‘green blanket’. Ry took it everywhere. Riley was extremely sensitive and it gave him great comfort. He couldn’t be without it, and many a night was spent in search of it before bedtime could take place.
At age 5, Riley and family joined Queen Skittle’s court for ‘The Doodah Parade’ in Pasadena. It was Riley’s first real dress-up event, filled with wild and whacky costumes. Ry loved it!
In 2009, Riley started Kindergarten at Kester Elementary in Sherman Oaks and the family moved closer to school. Riley was unable to sit still and focus on anything for any length of time, and spent many of his classes drawing his favorite thing; cats!
In second grade, Ry test as ‘gifted’ – specifically creative thinking, and would stay up late making books, stapling multiple pages together and creating stories and drawings by the dozens.
For the next three years, Riley performed at ‘Rockin’ for Kester’, always as the lead singer. ‘Someday’ by The Strokes, ‘These Boots Are Made For Walkin’, by Nancy Sinatra & ‘Sweet Child of Mine’ by Guns & Roses.
In 2014, Riley started middle school at the Valley Environmental Academy. The school was project based, which worked much better for Riley but he still struggled to fit in. That summer, Mom took him to Gay Pride Parade in West Hollywood.
Riley was filled with joy. There was a place for him, at last! From now on, Riley openly identified as Gay. He hung a giant rainbow flag on his bedroom wall along with posters of Dan & Phil, Hatsune Miku, Kasane Teto and Soul Eater.
At the beginning of 2017, Riley cut his hair super short. It was around this time that Riley, fascinated by anime, became involved in Cosplay.
Riley enjoyed Cosplay because he could become someone else by getting into character, didn’t matter the sex … or even the species; you could be whatever you wanted to be. He proceeded to experiment with every hair color sold by Sally Beauty, and his hair changed style and color weekly.
He also became a huge fan of ‘Ghost’ and ‘Pals’ and all things Vocaloid. He was a member of several anime amino’s, and was desperate to go to a convention. At the end of January, Dad took Riley to – Anime Los Angeles (ALA). Riley dressed as V-Flower, and made the google search!
Throughout 2017 and 2018, Riley went to several more Conventions, often taking a friend… dressing as Lin, Lapis Lazuli, Pidge, 707. Riley sometimes had a hard time expressing his feelings. Anime helped him express himself. (*see the cosplay Page)
In June 2017, Mom took Riley to their second pride Parade in WeHo. This time, Riley bought a trans flag and added it to his bedroom wall. Riley now identified as a trans boy.
That winter, our beloved cat, George, passed away. He’d been with Riley his whole life. It was a very sad time, but soon after, we adopted two new kittens, PICO & JACKIE (CHAN). Riley loved them so, and even used Pico’s ‘headshot’ for his avatar.
In June, 2018, Riley Graduated Middle School with a ‘Certificate of Congressional Recognition’ for collecting toys for homeless kids, signed by C.A. Congressman, Tony Cardenas.
Summer was spent with Guitar lessons at Burbank Music Academy, and Improv. classes at the Young Actors Studio. Riley loved improv. It appealed to his physicality and sense of humor. He’d always had a sharp wit, dry and quick.
Riley started 9th grade at SAMOHI in the fall and joined the Gender & Sexuality Alliance (GSA). A new school, a fresh start.
That fall, Riley went to see ‘Wheezer’, his first live concert – followed by ‘Panic at the Disco’. It solidified his love of music and many more bands joined his playlist. Mother, Mother, Lemon Demon, Hushy 4 Lung, Mindless Self Indulgence and a myriad of other Indie bands.
He learnt all the words to Hamilton, ‘rap battled’ with his friends, joined the CHOIR, and sang Bach in German. Riley had a beautiful voice. Music had become very important to him.
Music, in fact, was almost as important as his artwork. “All you ever need to know about me you’ll find in my sketchbooks,” Riley said. And, he had dozens of them, all filled to the brim. Ry was a fan of ‘Sally Face’, ‘Hazbin Hotel,’ ‘Zim’ ‘Legend of Zelda’, Danganrompa, The Walking Dead, and Stranger Things. Riley drew these characters for hours on end.
In the Summer of 2019, Ry and mom took their (almost) annual trip to Lummi Island. They had visited 6 out of the last 8 years and Riley had gotten to know the island well, hanging with the same kids each year, swimming in the pond, running thru the woods, scouring tide pools for jelly-fish, picking wild blackberries, letting out the chickens and chasing the cows.
In August, Riley and mom trained for their PADI Scuba dive certification. Ry loved being in the water, and passed the training easily. We were all proud of how far he had come.
Sept 3rd 2020 was Riley’s Sixteenth Birthday. Mom and dad took him to get his nose pierced. That weekend, Riley and mom took the ferry to Catalina and went Zip-lining.
One consistent message Riley imparted to others was ‘be yourself’, and Riley helped many feel confident and free, though he could never truly achieve this for himself.
Riley died on the 16th September, 2020. His final resting place will be Lummi Island, the place he loved, the place he felt free to be himself.