John Spinello, the man behind enduring kids surgery game Operation, has found himself in the grimly ironic situation of not being able to afford an operation, with fans and toy designers banding together to try and help raise money for him.
The 77-year-old from Illinois, who sold the rights to the game for just $500 50 years ago, needs $25,000 for oral surgery.
Toy designer friends have set up a crowdfunding campaign page to help him fund the operation, already attracting over $2,000 in donations.
A sister website ILoveOperation.com is selling editions of the game sold by Spinello meanwhile, with the inventor hoping to auction off the original prototype for the game for at least $35,000 in December.
"Look, everyone needs medical care," Spinello told HuffPost. "I prefer not to dwell on that aspect and focus more on the joy that the game has brought to so many over the years."
Spinello invented Operation while studying industrial design at the University of Illinois.
He was tasked with creating an electric game where the object was to insert a metal wand into holes without touching their metal edges, having the ingenious idea to turn this into a slightly macabre surgical operation.