VIDEO: Mr. Parker’s Story

February 27, 2019

John Parker Jr., a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and College of Law, has been a practicing attorney, a newspaper reporter and columnist, a speechwriter for then Governor Bob Graham, an editorial director of Running Times magazine, and an athlete his entire life. Even though John secured a basketball scholarship at the University of Florida (UF), he eventually switched gears and joined UF’s track and field team, where he went on to win the SEC championship in the mile three times in the late 1960s and early 1970s, setting a school record for the same event (John’s best mile run is 4:05!).

In 2008, John unfortunately came down with a virus that ultimately put him in the hospital on balloon pump with myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart, and subsequently became a patient that would live with atrial fibrillation throughout his life. However, his cardiac history didn’t stop there. In 2018, after living with AFib for a number of years, John’s cardiologist referred him to cardiothoracic surgery for the repair of an aortic aneurysm. To the credit of John’s cardiac team at The Cardiac and Vascular Institute and North Florida Regional Medical Center, as well as his maintained lifestyle, John is back to living his active life. He is a kayaking, hiking and mountain biking enthusiast and attributes his quick cardiac surgery recovery to having lived a life full of fitness with heart healthy activities.