Shave-off event at Glebe barber shop helps to launch Movember month

Moustache-growing campaign to raise funds, awareness for men's health

Movember madness got off to a good, clean (shaven) start at Capital Barber Shop, where supporters of the month-long fundraising and awareness campaign for men’s health helped to kick it off on Wednesday.

On hand for the event was Movember Ottawa chair Will Bulmer. He's the executive assistant to Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, MPP for Ottawa Centre. Prior to that, he was special assistant to Mayor Jim Watson for four years.

The former political science student and varsity volleyball player at Queen’s University found out he had throat cancer in 2009, at age 20. He originally chose not to disclose the diagnosis and treatment to his friends and family. He didn’t want to worry them, particularly his mom.

“I had this image of what it meant to be a man,” he told OBJ.social.

He's been in remission since 2013.

It's through his connection to Movember that Bulmer has become more open about men's health issues. He first got involved 10 years ago as part of a team-building exercise for his volleyball team.

“Movember was a rallying point for me,” said Bulmer. “Having my friends around to give me confidence and work through these issues showed me what camaraderie can do. There’s no shame in being able to talk about your health with your friends.”

Movember Ottawa
From left, Movember Ottawa chair Will Bulmer with Capital Barber Shop owner Ankur Vadhera and, in the barber's seat, Sharif Virani, at the kick-off for Movember Ottawa, held at the Glebe business on Wednesday, November 1, 2017. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Movember is the biggest and only dedicated men’s health charity in the world. Last year, it raised $15.5 million in Canada and $135 million globally, with a focus on prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health and suicide prevention.

Wednesday's kick off was a chance for guys to gather together, get a shave and make a donation to the cause. Among those to lean back in the barber’s seat and experience the relaxation of a hot towel and the closeness of a straight razor was Bulmer. He will be among the many men spotted in offices and workplaces growing a hairy Mo throughout the month of November.

Movember Ottawa
Will Bulmer gets a clean shave from Capital Barber Shop owner Ankur Vadhera as part of the kick-off to Movember, a month-long fundraiser and awareness campaign for men's health. Photo by Caroline Phillips

Capital Barber Shop has been open in the Glebe for almost two years and is part of a growing trend toward offering men the authentic barbershop experience.

“Men care more about how they look, nowadays,” said owner Ankur Vadhera, who’s been cutting hair since he was 14.

- caroline@obj.ca