NEW ORLEANS (press release) – Robert W. Merrick, owner of Latter & Blum and a leader in New Orleans real estate, and his wife, Sheryl Merrick, are once again giving back to the community with a donation of $1 million to the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center at Ochsner Medical Center. The funds will enhance the center’s recently opened expansion.

For Robert Merrick, this cause is personal. “As a five-time cancer survivor,” he remarks, “I fully understand the need to expand the Ochsner Cancer Center; the need is great. I have lived and witnessed what cancer patients go through on the hopeful road to recovery.”

Merrick has dedicated much of his adult life to serving the community, not only through his financial investments but also through the many civic organizations to which he volunteers his time. His accolades include the Weiss Award from the New Orleans Council for Community & Justice (2015), the Times-Picayune’s Loving Cup Award (2019) and the Distinguished Citizen Award from the Boy Scouts of America (2015). He has been named Orleanian of the Year by Gambit Magazine (2015) and Ochsner Health’s Moonlight and Miracles Gala Miracle Maker (2020). These are just a few examples of the much-deserved recognition that Merrick has received. His commitment to purposeful giving distinguishes him as a true visionary, improving the lives of the people of greater New Orleans region.

The newly expanded Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center held its grand re-opening in September 2020. It is now double the size of the previous building, making it one of the region’s leading destinations for comprehensive cancer care. The Merricks’ gift has enabled Ochsner’s multidisciplinary team of healthcare experts to provide patient care, research and education to adults and children in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, the Northshore, North Louisiana, Southwest Louisiana and throughout the Gulf South. In thanks for the Merricks’ generous contribution, the first-floor lobby and atrium are named in their honor.

“We are incredibly grateful to Bob and Sheryl for their amazing gift,” said Brian Moore, MD, FACS, medical director, Ochsner Cancer Institute. “They are tireless advocates for those battling cancer and know first-hand the toll it takes on not only the patient, but their families and caregivers. Our goal at the Gayle and Tom Benson Cancer Center is to offer the highest quality collaborative, patient-centered care and that would not be possible without the generosity of donors like the Merricks.”