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Horst Ferrero, a third generation lawyer, was born into a family dedicated to its community and exercising leadership roles. His grandfathers were both lawyers and involved in government – one was the president of the Venezuelan Congress and governor of a Venezuelan state and the other was an appellate court judge. Horst spent most of his childhood in Caracas, Venezuela, although he also spent part of his time in London, England with his mother while she served as a diplomat.

Horst studied law at the Andres Bello Catholic University of Caracas, received a master’s in International Business Law at American University in Washington D.C. and later earned his M.B.A. from the University of Florida in Gainesville. At a very young age he was General Counsel of a 3000-employee joint venture formed in Venezuela between a US Fortune 500 company and the Venezuelan oil industry. 

Luisa Cannella-Ferrero is from an Italian family that immigrated to Venezuela where she was raised. Luisa studied International Commerce in Venezuela and graduated in 1998. She speaks four languages fluently, including Italian, Spanish, English and French.

After disentangling a 62 store family business of musical instruments, which she inherited in Venezuela, Luisa and Horst relocated to the United States where they expanded the family investments in commercial real estate; specifically in Gainesville Florida, with the award winning projects known as Town of Tioga and Tioga Town Center.


In addition to expanding their professional life, the Ferreros were fulfilling their personal dreams of starting a family with the birth of their son, Sebastian in March 2004.

The couple’s life took an unimaginable turn in October 2007, when their three-year-old son, Sebastian, died due to a series of preventable medical errors. Their happy and healthy boy was accidentally overdosed during a routine outpatient test at Shands Hospital at the University of Florida.

Instead of turning inward and isolating themselves, Horst and Luisa did quite the opposite. In the wake of their tragedy, the two turned their heartbreak into hope with the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation. The mission of the Sebastian Ferrero Foundation is to advocate and fundraise for a state-of-the-art, full service children's hospital in Gainesville, Florida while promoting excellence in patient safety and insuring that all families are treated with compassion, courtesy and dignity.

Since launch, the Ferreros’ lives, have been devoted to advocating and fundraising for a dedicated children’s hospital for the children of North Central Florida while promoting excellence in patient safety. Furthermore, the Foundation has served as a catalyst for profound change in the way hospitals and health care professionals care for children and their families.

The Ferreros have received widespread support and are encouraged by the progress the Foundation has made in a very short time. In fact, many community leaders, parents and more than 150 local pediatricians and pediatric, have come together with Shands HealthCare and the University of Florida College of Medicine to support this very important cause.

Horst and Luisa Ferrero reside in Gainesville, Florida with their sons—
Sebastian’s younger brothers—Sergio, Santiago and Stefano.

Copyright © 2014 Sebastian Ferrero Foundation. All rights reserved.