"I want to tell you about my mother, the most important person in my life," he wrote. "I would not be where I am today, in medical school, without her."
Denni says she's been working at least three jobs since her husband left when their children were just 3, 5 and 6 years old. "He had taken everything we had, so I was left with absolutely nothing," she says.
At first, the financial strain was too much for Denni and her family to bear, and their home was foreclosed. "We would live in the van for a period of time if we had to or in the homes of our friends," Denni says. "That time was complete turmoil in our lives."
Over the years, Denni learned to scrape by by working as a teacher and taking on odd jobs like cleaning homes, working in restaurants and doing other people's laundry. With her hard-earned paychecks, she was able to put all three of her children through college, and she now has $78,000 in student loans.
"I don't think that that would be possible without her and all that she gave up in her life to make our dreams come true," Jonathan says.