By Dana Kozlov

CHICAGO (CBS) — Buried among guitars, drums and all things music, John Shaw and his store have been a fixture on Chicago’s Northwest side for 17 years.

Now, a decline not only in his business, but also in his wife’s health, has left the longtime music store owner with a mountain of debt.

But some loyal customers want to help pay off The Music Store owner’s debts so he can spend time with his sick wife.

“You go in there, and anything you need, he’ll practically give it to you,” said Lee Klawans.

Now, many of those customers, like Klawans, are trying to help him in this time of need.

“I could feel his helplessness and I wanted to do something.”

Klawans says that helplessness set in after Judy, Shaw’s wife of 45 years, was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer the day after Christmas.

“I just want to be there to watch over her,” Shaw said of his high school love.

That meant cutting back on store hours.

“Today we’re closing at 4. Closing early today.”

Shaw said Judy’s cancer has spread throughout her body. He is now spending up to 18 hours a day in the hospital, as his debt and bills continue to grow.

“I’m not that focused or care that much about the bills,” said Shaw. “It’s more about just her getting better. It really isn’t about the bills.”

But Klawans would like to ease the burden of some of Shaw’s bills, and has started a GoFundMe page to help with the expenses.

The gesture, Shaw said, nearly brought him to tears.