Watch Pharrell's 'life changing' moment for Cincinnati boy battling cancer

Watch Pharrell's 'life changing' moment for Cincinnati boy battling cancer
Reef Carneson (Source: Lydia Carneson)
Reef Carneson (Source: Lydia Carneson)
Reef Carneson (Source: Lydia Carneson)
Reef Carneson (Source: Lydia Carneson)

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Pharrell Williams went above and beyond to fulfill a dream for an 8-year-old boy with a rare form of cancer.

Reef Carneson, 8, is battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia and has been in the hospital since he was 1-years-old, but that has never stopped him from being a huge fan of Pharrell.

Reef's mom, Lydia, said his journey started in 2011 in Los Angeles.

"We were there for four years and in 2014 they transferred us to Cincinnati Children's Hospital," she said.

Lydia said her mother-in-law Charmeon had been communicating with Milk Tyson, a national advocate for childhood cancer. Last Wednesday, he said he'd be in Cincinnati and would love to visit Reef.

Tyson learned that Reef loved Pharrell and his favorite song was 'Happy' and decided to reach out to Pharrell and his team by posting a video to his Facebook page.

The post read, "Please take 2 seconds to tag Pharrell Williams or anyone who is close to him! I'm gonna reach out to mutual friends. Day 1 of my tour today started at Cincinnati Children's with rocc star REEF! Pharrell we humbly ask for a video message or FaceTime call or whatever I gotta do to set you up with Reef! He loves your music! Reef is 6 from South Africa, 5 out of those 6 years he's been battling cancer. He's traveled from Africa to LA and now to Cincinnati all to get help! Because of his condition he can't be in the sun and has been in isolation most of his life! Just recently doctors have let him be around other kids but often kids are mean and call him names because of his skin! Everyone say hi to reef please reach out to Pharrell. Skateboard P ! We've met before and I know you are a good guy! Your voice is huge! Help let the world know kids get cancer too and other kids should embrace Rocc Star Reef! Much love! #FAM #FindingAMeaning#FightingAllMonsters #ChildhoodCancer #cincinatti #WhatWouldJoshSay#Pharrell #KidsGetCancerToo"

Lydia said two days after the post, she got a phone call from Pharrell's team that said they didn't want to do a video, but wanted to do something better.

"I couldn't even speak on the phone… I couldn't believe what was happening. We were so excited, we were practicing his little dance," she said.

Pharrell invited Reef and his family to The Roots Picnic festival in Philadelphia on Saturday.

He arranged for them to stay in a five-star hotel and got them tickets and backstage passes, according to

To top it off, Pharrell invited Reef and his sister on stage while he performed 'Happy.'

"We couldn't fly because of his weakened immune system, so they arranged a private driver. We arrived in Philadelphia at 4:30 p.m. and we went into his trailer at about 7 p.m. and got to spend a couple of hours with him and his wife and his back up dancers," Lydia said.

Pharrell got the crowd to chant "Reef, we love you," before beginning the song.

"He was so overwhelmed… thought it was the most wonderful thing ever. He had the best time of his life. Once he was on the stage – it was so huge he just stood there. We were still so proud of him. It was a life changing experience for him," Lydia said.

Lydia said this gives so much great awareness to childhood cancer and her family couldn't be more grateful.

"It was such a huge blessing for our family to experience this. I thank them so much… it's very easy for celebrities if people reach out to them just to send them something. Pharrel went above and beyond for Reef and our family," she said.

Lydia said Reef can't stop watching the videos captured from his dream night with Pharrell. She said the family does everything in their power to make sure Reef has the best childhood and life they can give him.

"We don't know what the future holds. We put our faith in God, and whatever Reef needs we do it … and go from there," she said.

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