FAIRFIELD — Dreaming uncontrolled.
Not only did Emily Qvistgaard choose that as the name of her first single, it also represents how the 14-year-old Fairfield girl recorded the tune, had a release party and made it onto iTunes.
Qvistgaard, who will be a freshman at Rodriguez High School, has end stage renal disease and is waiting for a kidney transplant. She is bypassing the dialysis route for the transplant.
But that hasn’t stopped her from dreaming. And, with the help of Make-A-Wish, her hope to record a song turned into much more.
A limousine transported her, her mother Carol Qvistgaard, father Guy Qvistgaard and sister Hannah Qvistgaard to San Francisco for a two-night stay at the Grand Hyatt, where “Dreaming Uncontrolled” was played in the lobby.
A shopping spree with a personal shopper at Nordstrom’s, followed by a makeover that included nails, hair and makeup, were just the beginning.
“They are treating her like royalty,” said her father, as he watched his daughter get her tresses styled. Earlier, he shared, she had told him “I could personally get used to this.”
“I can’t believe they are doing this for me,” Emily Qvistgaard said, as cameras snapped pictures and an occassional shopper would question whether she was a celebrity.
“It is a very unique wish,” said Lisa McIntire, program associate for The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation, who accompanied the Qvistgaard family throughout the day.
Emily Qvistgaard is an exceptional young woman.
She was diagnosed four years ago. A transplant was mentioned but wasn’t initially necessary because through diet, and a daily dose of several medicines, Qvistgaard was able to stabilize her condition.
She religiously watched the amount of protein and salt she ate. Today, she even gives herself daily injections and lives with less than one-quarter kidney function.
“Dreaming Uncontrolled” is an upbeat song Qvistgaard wrote one of those days when she was feeling down.
“It’s a song to make you feel good about yourself,” said Qvistgaard, who has penned about a half-dozen songs.
Her singing skills were honed in Missouri Street Theatre productions.
Resiliency is the trait her father admires most in her, noting that she has to think about her health and the future of her health. Even when there are moments that are frustrating and/or sad, she won’t let that get her down, he said.
“She has the most incredible attitude. She’s a special girl,” said Gwen Fox, Guy Qvistgaard’s sister, a travel consultant who arrived from Southern California for the event. ”I have to take her on her first world tour.”
Emily’s favorite artists are Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha and Bruno Mars.
“She is a rock star today,” said Reggie Stagner, general manager of San Francisco’s Ruby Skye nightclub, where the release party took place.
Stagner added to the rock star atmosphere as he had two of his security staff follow Emily Qvistgaard around the club, extending their hands to help her stand up and sit down.
“Does it feel real? A little unreal?” a guest asked Qvistgaard in the green room, filled with balloon sculptures, food and drink.
She arrived at the venue about two hours before showtime. After a sound check, Qvistgaard greeted friends who had traveled from Fairfield.
Among them was Scott Erich, who has known Qvistgaard since the first grade.
“This seems pretty cool,” he said.
Drinking a diet Snapple, Qvistgaard did a few dance moves with friends in the green room. The group then made their way to the dance floor.
A little later, Qvistgaard walked on the dark stage at Ruby Skye and was greeted by cheers. The guests included her family and friends as well as Make-A-Wish staff and supporters.
Perfectly poised, she made her way across the stage, even stopping briefly to sit on the edge as she sang “Dreaming Uncontrolled.”
She was backed by musician Dave Tweedie, who volunteered his time and talents for the show and the recording session.
A standing ovation followed.
“I’m sorry, you weren’t loud enough,” said Patricia Wilson, executive director of The Greater Bay Area Make-A-Wish Foundation, jokingly, before inviting the Qvistgaard family onstage.
“When we started this journey we had no idea the extent of it,” Guy Qvistgaard said. “I filled out a survey after the recording (session) and said I couldn’t think of anything else they could have done.”
Make-A-Wish did find something else, however.
Wilson handed Emily Qvistgaard a wrapped box and told her to read the enclosed note out loud: “Dreaming Uncontrolled” would be on iTunes.
Ruby Skye also created a special nonalcoholic drink in Qvistgaard’s honor, Deliciousness Uncontrolled.
Qvistgaard made her way to the nightclub foyer where she signed headshots for her fans. The line reached out the front door.
Alexis Peterson was among those waiting for an autograph. She said she met Qvistgaard about a year ago and said the two have become fast friends.
“I know she has to go to the doctor a lot,” Peterson said. “That’s all I really know.”
She called Qvistgaard’s song and performance amazing.
San Franciscan Carlie Factor waited in the after-show line. She works for an investment company that supports Make-A-Wish.
“It was fun,” Factor said. “She is a rock star.”
“We are going to support her all the way,” said Debbie Jung, who works with Factor.
“Dreaming Uncontrolled” is a free download at iTunes through Monday night. Emily Qvistgaard is reading reviews of the tune on the site as well as on Facebook.
“It’s so exciting,” she said. “It’s been a dream of mine for a long time. I always wanted it to happen, but I didn’t think it ever would. It’s still kind of unreal.”
Reach Amy Maginnis-Honey at 427-6957 or firstname.lastname@example.org.