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A leaked voicemail Joe Biden left for his son struggling with addiction is deeply moving

'I know you don't know what to do. I don't either. But I'm here…'

joe biden hunter biden parenting addiction
"Joe Biden" by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0.

Joe Biden left a loving voicemail to his son Hunter in 2018, which Sean Hannity shared on Fox News.

Drug addiction is brutal, both for the person addicted and for their loved ones. Addiction can destroy lives, tear apart families and wreak havoc on communities. Anyone who has dealt with addiction themselves or has tried to help a friend or family member through it knows how hard it can be and how helpless it can feel.

Anger, confusion and frustration are natural responses to the behaviors of a person struggling with addiction. So are love, compassion and empathy when you understand the nature of addiction. Parents of people struggling with substance abuse often feel a constant push and pull between all of those feelings, but at the end of the day, every loving parent just wants their child to be OK.

When Sean Hannity aired a leaked 2018 voicemail message from Joe Biden to his son, Hunter, on his Fox News show, the world got a glimpse of the emotional weight of addiction and the unconditional love of a parent who doesn't know how to help their child stuck in the throes of addiction.


In the voicemail, which was obtained by the Daily Mail, we hear an emotional Biden telling his son that he loved him, that he needed to get help and that he was there for him.

"It's Dad. I called to tell you I love you. I love you more than the whole world, pal. You gotta get some help. I know you don't know what to do. I don't either. But I'm here, no matter what you need … I love you."

Hannity called the voicemail "sad," and then tried to use it to make Biden look bad. “Now that voicemail reportedly came at the exact same time Hunter lied on a gun application to buy a handgun,” he said.

However, rather than seeing it as damning, people reacted to the recording with overwhelming support. Those who have struggled with addiction, and those who have loved ones who have, simply saw a concerned father reaching out to a struggling son with compassion and love.

For instance, former NBA star Rex Chapman, who went through a very public struggle with opioid addiction, wrote on Twitter, "As a recovering drug addict I can’t tell you how mean spirited this feels … They’re exploiting a dad’s love for his son who’s troubled. Wow. I guess no one at Fox News knows any of these opioid addicts across the country."

Chapman pointed out that the Biden family has endured unfathomable tragedy, with Hunter Biden losing his mom and sister in a car accident and losing his brother to brain cancer.

"The fact of the matter is that many addicts have family members who can’t or won’t say these words to them. Who only judge. Hunter is very lucky to have a dad like this," he shared. "If only every addict were so lucky…"

Actor and journalist Ben Dreyfuss shared that he'd gotten calls like this from his family when he was struggling with drugs and mental health issues and that the audio made him want to cry. "Joe Biden seems like a really good dad?" he wrote.

The bafflement at how this voicemail could possibly make Biden look bad came from across the political spectrum. Conservative commentator Bill Kristol simply wrote, "The fact that Fox News thinks this reflects badly on Joe Biden says it all."

And conservative writer Megan Basham of The Daily Wire wrote, "This is nothing to sneer at. It's been quite a number of years, but I've been on the receiving end of calls like this from my parents. Praying today for Hunter's salvation."

Surveys have shown that about half of American families report being touched by addiction, and addiction doesn't discriminate between political parties or points of view. What reactions to this voicemail show is that a father reaching out to his drug-addicted child with a message of concern and unconditional love is heart-wrenching, but also relatable for so many people.

There are healthy and unhealthy ways to love a person through addiction, but it's important for every human being to know that they are loved and that their loved ones are going to be there for them, no matter what struggles they face.

This message from Biden to his son should have remained private. But since it's out there, let's acknowledge it for the beautiful example of parental love that it is.

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From political science to joining the fight against cancer: How one woman found her passion

An unexpected pivot to project management expanded Krystal Brady's idea of what it means to make a positive impact.

Krystal Brady/PMI

Krystal Brady utilizes her project management skills to help advance cancer research and advocacy.

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Cancer impacts nearly everyone’s life in one way or another, and thankfully, we’re learning more about treatment and prevention every day. Individuals and organizations dedicated to fighting cancer and promising research from scientists are often front and center, but we don’t always see the people working behind the scenes to make the fight possible.

People like Krystal Brady.

While studying political science in college, Brady envisioned her future self in public office. She never dreamed she’d build a successful career in the world of oncology, helping cancer researchers, doctors and advocates continue battling cancer, but more efficiently.

Brady’s journey to oncology began with a seasonal job at a small publishing company, which helped pay for college and awakened her love for managing projects. Now, 15 years later, she’s serving as director of digital experience and strategy at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO), which she describes as “the perfect place to pair my love of project management and desire to make positive change in the world.”

As a project manager, Brady helps make big ideas for the improvement of diagnosing and treating cancer a reality. She is responsible for driving the critical projects that impact the lives of cancer researchers, doctors, and patients.

“I tell people that my job is part toolbox, part glue,” says Brady. “Being a project manager means being responsible for understanding the details of a project, knowing what tools or resources you need to execute the project, and facilitating the flow of that work to the best outcome possible. That means promoting communication, partnership, and ownership among the team for the project.”

At its heart, Brady’s project management work is about helping people. One of the big projects Brady is currently working on is ASCO’s digital transformation, which includes upgrading systems and applications to help streamline and personalize oncologists’ online experience so they can access the right resources more quickly. Whether you are managing humans or machines, there’s an extraordinary need for workers with the skillset to harness new technology and solve problems.

The digital transformation project also includes preparing for the use of emerging technologies such as generative AI to help them in their research and practices.

“Most importantly, it lays the groundwork for us to make a meaningful impact at the point of care, giving the oncologist and patient the absolute latest recommendations or guidelines for care for that specific patient or case, allowing the doctor to spend more time with their patients and less time on paperwork,” Brady says.

In today’s fast-changing, quickly advancing world, project management is perhaps more valuable than ever. After discovering her love for it, Brady earned her Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification through Project Management Institute (PMI)—the premier professional organization for project managers with chapters all over the world—which she says gave her an edge over other candidates when she applied for her job at ASCO.

“The knowledge I gained in preparing for the PMP exam serves me every day in my role,” Brady says. “What I did not expect and have truly come to value is the PMI network as well – finding like-minded individuals, opportunities for continuous learning, and the ability to volunteer and give back.”

PMI’s growing community – including more than 300 chapters globally – serves as a place for project managers and individuals who use project management skills to learn and grow through events, online resources, and certification programs.

While people often think of project management in the context of corporate careers, all industries and organizations need project managers, making it a great career for those who want to elevate our world through non-profits or other service-oriented fields.

“Project management makes a difference by focusing on efficiency and outcomes, making us all a little better at what we do,” says Brady. “In almost every industry, understanding how to do our work more effectively and efficiently means more value to our customers, and the world at large, at an increased pace.”

Project management is also a stable career path in high demand as shown by PMI research, which found that the global economy will need 25 million more project managers by 2030 and that the median salary for project managers in the US has grown to $120K.

If you’d like to learn more about careers in project management, PMI has resources to help you get started or prove your proficiency, including its entry-level Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) certification program. For those interested in pursuing a project management career to make a difference, it could be your first step.

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