(CNN) — John Spinello created the game of “Operation” nearly 50 years ago. Since then, millions have attempted to remove small plastic body parts from Cavity Sam without lighting up his red nose and hearing that sweat-inducing BUZZ.
In a weird twist of fate, Spinello now needs an operation himself — one he can’t afford, according to a Crowdrise fundraiser launched by his friends.
Spinello, 77, told the Huffington Post that he needs $25,000 in oral surgery.
“John has had a good life, but has admitted to us that he is struggling to pay his bills and is in need of a medical procedure without sufficient insurance coverage,” professional game inventors Tom Walsh and Peggy Brown write on Crowdrise.
“We launched this Crowdrise fundraiser to call on anyone who has ever played and loved Operation to send John a note and maybe, a monetary gift of appreciation.”
Fans can also purchase an autographed copy of the classic game in honor of its upcoming 50th anniversary.
Spinello was paid $500 for “Operation,” which he sold to a toy invention firm, according to the website ILoveOperation.com. Because of the deal he cut, Walsh says, he was not entitled to royalties from the game. “Operation” was licensed to Milton Bradley and is currently sold by Hasbro.
As of Wednesday morning, the Crowdrise page had collected more than $11,000 in donations. We just hope Spinello’s doctors are better at his game than we ever were.