Cancer battle leads to cafe culture

Jane Booth and Judy Astin at Courtyard Cafe''w124811
Jane Booth and Judy Astin at Courtyard Cafe''w124811

Two sisters who have both battled breast cancer and had reconstructive surgery within days of each other are looking to the future by taking on a new business venture together.

Despite having reconstructive surgery less than a month ago Judy Aston (50) and Jane Booth (51) have thrown themselves into their new venture after ditching jobs they weren’t happy with.

They took over the Courtyard Cafe (formerly known as Sahara), off Flowergate in September while they were right in the middle of treatment.

Jane, of Sneaton had been diagnosed in October 2011 and with their mother having died of breast cancer 16 years ago she urged Judy and their other two sisters to get themselves checked and three days after her 50th birthday in February of this year, Judy was given the devastating news that she too had then disease.

Jane had two lumps in her right breast and had a double mastectomy plus three weeks of radiotherapy. Judy had her lump removed but despite three procedures to remove pre-cancerous cells they were still there so she too opted to have her breast removed.

On 6 November Judy underwent reconstructive surgery and ten days later Jane had the same operation - they chose November because they wanted to keep the cafe open for the busy summer and school holiday period.

Judy said: “We postponed the surgery until a quieter time, and we could not miss goth weekend, we made a fortune.”

Jane added: “And I postponed mine because my daughter was getting married.”

In all seriousness, the sisters have had a lot of support from their families along the way and Jane’s husband, Dave, gave the cafe a makeover while they were recovering.

Judy said: “We were both looking for something like this and when Sara Kidger mentioned she was selling I thought about it for about ten minutes. We decided we would go for it and it all happened really quickly.”

Jane added: “It makes you think ‘life’s too short, get on with it’. People have said ‘you are so brave’ but what’s the other option? Dive under the duvet and die, you have got to crack on.”