The ‘Operation’ Game Inventor Cannot Afford an Operation

The man behind the beloved children’s board game, Operation, now ironically finds himself unable to afford a dental operation.

Half a century ago, John Spinello invented the game that let kids play pretend surgery. He sold the game rights for a single flat fee of $500, and it became a pop culture sensation—a hit across multiple generations of children. Now fans of the popular game and toy designers are trying to help raise awareness for his plight and the necessary funds.

Originally from Illinois, the 77-year-old requires an expensive $25,000 oral surgery, The Independent reports. He is relying on the donations from crowdfunding sites and the sale of special editions of the game to cover his expenses.

Spinello told Huffington Post that he is choosing not to get hung up on the irony of his situation or his healthcare crisis, and focus on the happiness his game has brought to so many homes.

Some of his toy-designer friends have set up a fund with to raise money, and a sister website, is selling special editions of Operation that have been personally signed by Spinello.

Additionally it is reported that Spinello will auction his original game prototype in the hopes of raising an additional $35,000.