Welcome to The Purple Jacket!

The Purple Jacket is a blog about the real-life story of the late Bernard Richard Schiffer and Chris MacLellan.  Faced with my partner’s diagnosis of esophageal cancer in 2011, I started The Purple Jacket as a way to share our Caregiving journey.  Along the way, we have met thousands of people from all over the world while coining a nick name for Richard, “TLO”…meaning The Little One, Richard stood a foot shorter than me!  Now that the caregiving journey has ended, I am writing about Life After Caregiving while continuing to be an ardent advocate for Caregivers and their caree’s all over the world.

The Purple Jacket  focuses on living life in a calm and peaceful way. It is through story telling where not only do we find comfort, we bring comfort to others as well. . The conversations will often include discussion of our personal networks of family and friends.  Our conversations will often be about developing long-lasting relationships based on honesty, sincerity and personal integrity.

In  The Purple Jacket, we will talk about the role of the caregiver in maintaining the independence, dignity and quality of life  for their caree and just as important, for themselves, too!  We will discuss how the caregiver can be a more effective advocate and we will deliver information that every Senior, caregiver and family needs to know when discussing these issues.

Just a little bit about me:

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, I am is the youngest of six children: I am proud to be the ‘F.U.’ (aka: Favorite Uncle) to 24 nieces and nephews and over 40 great nieces and nephews! (That number is still growing!)

I have a diverse background in Social Work, Ministry, Senior Care, Arts Management and Professional Sports. I earned a Bachelors Degree  in Child Family and Community Service from Sangamon State University (now the University of Illinois, Springfield) in Springfield, Illinois and have earned a Masters Degree in Leadership and Communication from Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA.   I am proud of my six years in the seminary and have studied Theology at Sacred Heart School of Theology in Hales Corners, Wisconsin.   I have always enjoyed the dialogue that comes with higher education and I am currently studying Leadership and Communication at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington.  My thesis will be centered around Caregiver/Caregiving stress.

My passion centers around advocacy in all the things that I do. When we are entrusted to the care of others, there is no better  honor. Leaders do not seek responsibility, leaders are drawn to  responsibility when they realize how their talents, skills and abilities can make a difference.

I am a proponent of a holistic approach to good health and spirituality.  Theologically trained,  I view religion and spirituality as separate. Church communities are healthy when they promote diversity, dignity and acceptance.    Down to earth and pragmatic, I am  able to see different viewpoints, work within a consensus while building bridges instead of roadblocks.

You might ask why The Purple Jacket?  The Purple Jacket is my own personal caregiving symbol.  I do own a purple jacket, however, I cannot fit into my purple jacket any longer.   I attribute this to the stress of being a caregiver and not learning how to take better care of myself.  My goal now in July of 2016 is to Bring On Wellness (#BOW) and take better care of my own personal health and well-being.

The Purple Jacket  is a blog dedicated to the estimated 44  million family Caregiver and their Caree’s in the United States.  Through the real life Caregiving story of Chris MacLellan and Bernard Richard Schiffer, The Purple Jacket’s goal is to educate, to identify, to foster awareness, and to be proactive in finding solutions to metal, physical, financial and spiritual health facing Caregivers and their Caree’s on a daily basis. Because in sickness and in health; love, care and commitment are the same for any two people joined together as one.

  Five Things you might not know about me…

I bowled professionally for three years and I am proud of my three regional Professional Bowlers Associations titles and my 13, 300 games.


blues (1)

I have been an avid hockey fan of the St. Louis Blues since 1967! One Day we will win the Stanley Cup!


I wear bow-ties because several years ago when I weighed close to 300 lbs, my long ties always seem to get in the way.  So I switched to bow-ties which allowed to me realize that my long tie was not the problem!  Having lost over 100 lbs, I continue to wear the bow-tie as a reminder of that time in my life when I was obese and unhappy.  I also think bow-ties are more fashionable, too because wearing a bow-tie is like wearing two smiles on your face!



I have 5 sibling and one favorite Sister-in-Law: JoAnn; Gerri; Merrille (George, R.I.P): Me (Richard, R.I.P.) Jim (Pat): Mary


Our three-part Caregiving Story ‘In Sickness and In Health: A Couple’s Final Journey’  as written by Diane Lade and Carline Jean of the South Florida  Sun-Sentinel has been seen world-wide by over 400,000 people and will be submitted for Pulitzer Prize nomination early 2015. Click the hyperlink above to be taken to the story. 


11 responses to “About

  1. Sandy Mills

    Hi Chris, I just found your very interesting blog, thus learned of your move back to FL and Richard’s cancer diagnosis. We are so sorry to hear about that. Please give him our best wishes and let him know he is being sent positive thoughts, as are you. Joe can really identify with your caretaker role; I’ve had 2 more bouts with my multiple myeloma since we last saw you. We are back in Springfield full time. Take care!


  2. Thank you SO much for starting to follow my blog. I too will follow yours. It is such a wonderful treat to be exposed to so many bloggers, especially those such as yourself who have gained experience and wisdom through caregiving journeys. Thank you for your advocacy for those needing, and deserving, such exceptional care. Irene/Boomer 98053 in Redmond, Washington.


  3. Dear Chris, It is an honor to meet you via your blog. I have sometimes seen your comments on other sites but do to heavy demands of caregiving to my mom, my good intentions of reading more fell by the wayside. Now that journey has shifted, (and I thank you for your support, by the way), I find myself here with a bit more time if not quite energy yet. I look forward to reading your posts and getting to know a bit more about each other as we continue. blessing and peace to you and Richard. Beth from middlescapes.


  4. sportsattitudes

    Chris, just wanted to drop a note to say I wish you and yours all the best for the New Year! Hope you had a great Holiday Season!

    Liked by 1 person

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