Northwestern High School graduate Cameron Flotow is using his second chance at life to connect people to others in their city.
On Oct. 3, 2011, Flotow was diagnosed with Leukemia.
“It came as a huge surprise to everybody,” he said. “My life changed forever.”
It came as a huge surprise to everybody. My life changed forever.
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Flotow, 26, went through two years of chemotherapy before learning he needed a bone marrow transplant. His brother was a match. Now Flotow is living a healthy life.
“That doesn’t happen,” Flotow said. “I heard that and broke down. I promised myself that if ... I were to survive I wanted to make something of that.”
Flotow wanted to share his story with those around him, but existing social media connect people with others already in their social circle.
Flotow wants to pop those social bubbles.
“Social media right now echoes the beliefs you already have. Why not show people all the beliefs and opinions that exist and the diversity of people that make our community so great,” he said.
Flotow, who has a passion for computer science, came up with Brite, a free, social media app that connects users within a 10-mile radius.
“I want people to be more in touch with their communities by allowing everyone in their community a place to talk -- no friends list,” he said.
The app allows businesses and individuals to share photos, stories, music, videos and other information.
“Our real society is filled with people we don’t know,” Flotow said. “I wanted to model that in a mobile application and I wanted to bring cities themselves online.”
I wanted to bring cities themselves online.
With an in-app store, users can add features, such as Brite Run, which allows users to run and record their times. Others can see the time and try to beat.
Flotow has had the app idea for years but began creating Brite in January for his entrepreneurship class at Coker College in Hartsville. He is working with fellow student Dominik Rega, 22.
“I fully believe in everything he believes in,” Rega said.
Flotow hopes to raise $100,000 to make the app a reality. He plans to launch the first version of Brite in Rock Hill, Hartsville and neighboring cities.
“I want a place for people to come and create new friends and if they have an idea for a story, I want a place for them to tell it and be heard,” Flotow said.
Andrew Burkemper, director of leadership and entrepreneurship initiatives at Coker, said the app is a unique approach to communication.
He said businesses will be able to advertise to local consumers while musicians and artists will be able to promote their events.
“They’ve done a good job of thinking through the different customer profiles that would benefit from the way they are setting this app up,” Burkemper said. “It’s a really creative, niche app that doesn’t have a lot of competing space right now.”
Flotow said the app is also a way to give back to those who helped him when he was sick. Donors held a concert and raised $2,000 to help with Flotow’s medical bills.
“I wanted to create something that gives back to the community that gave so much to me,” he said. “We’re going to see into the lives of others in ways we can’t today.”
We’re going to see into the lives of others in ways we can’t today.
Visit thebriteapp.com for more information.