If you ever enjoyed a game of Operation as a child, you have John Spinello to thank. Spinello cemented his place in American pop culture in 1965 when he invented the game that turns children into operating room experts. But now, at 77 years old, Spinello is having trouble funding a real-life operation of his own.
You’d think someone who invented an iconic game would be free from critical financial struggles, but that’s not the case. Spinello sold the rights to Operation to a toy company in the early ‘60’s for just $500. The toy company sold the game to Milton Bradley soon after, at which time it was mass produced. Point being: Spinello didn't receive any of the fortunes from his hugely popular invention, and now he needs your help.
Spinello and his friends created a Crowdrise page to help fund a $25,000 oral surgery he needs. The campaign, titled “Help for the Inventor of Operation, has raised just over $2,000 so far. Longtime friend Tim Walsh set up the page for Spinello.
“For over 50 years hundreds of millions of people have played and enjoyed operation, and John is very thankful for that,” Walsh says on the Crowdrise page. “Now John is in his golden years and things have got tough for him and his family.”
Walsh is asking anyone who has ever enjoyed a game of Operation to consider donating to Spinello’s cause.
“Much has changed in 50 years,” Walsh says. “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. 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.”
You can write a letter or donate on the website www.iloveoperation.com.
To learn more about Spinello’s campaign, and to hear him talk about how he created Operation, watch this video: