John Spinello is hoping to raise $25,000 to pay for his own operation ILoveOpertation

John Spinello, the man who invented the classic children's game Operation, needs help paying for his own surgery.

In a cruel ironic twist of fate, the 77-year-old inventor of the much loved electronic game cannot afford the $25,000 (£15,000) he needs to pay for an oral surgery procedure.

Despite selling millions around the world since its release, Spinello has only ever received $500 from the game after he sold the rights to a toy invention firm in 1964.

In a bid to raise money to pay for his operation, a crowdfunding page asking for donations has been set up by toy inventors Tim Walsh and Peggy Brown.

Walsh said the pair created the page as Spinello is "going through a rough patch and we want to help".

He added: "There are no 'bad guys' in this story. John simply struck a bad deal when he was a 20 year old kid. He's not legally entitled to royalties on the game he inspired. We believe it would be an awesome gesture of gratitude, for anyone who ever played and loved the game of Operation, to give John a small, monetary 'thank you gift' for making their childhood a bit brighter and buzzier."

A website ILoveOperation.com is also selling off signed copies of the game for $50, with Spinello also hoping to sell the original prototype for the game for at least $35,000 in December to help pay for the surgery.

"Look, everyone needs medical care," Spinello told the Huffington Post. "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."

The Crowdrise fundraising page has so far managed to muster more than $2,000 in donations towards Spinello's surgery.

Spinello estimates his game has generated at least $40m in sales since it was released.