A Bucks County man battling ALS will attend Tuesday’s State of the Union Address at the U.S. Capitol as a guest of Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, R-8, Middletown, invited Matthew Bellina, of the Holland section of Northampton, to attend President Donald Trump’s speech to shed more light on Right to Try legislation and urge passage of a law that could open up more treatment possibilities for terminally ill patients.

“Each day, families across the country receive the devastating news of a terminal diagnosis,” said Fitzpatrick in a statement. “Even with the amazing work done in American medical research and development, for too many, access to these potentially lifesaving treatments will come too late, or not at all. The Right to Try Act opens the opportunity to trial-stage care and establishes the freedom for patients and their doctors to try therapies where the benefits far outweigh the risks. Americans — our constituents — should have every opportunity to fight for their life, or the life of their loved one. Whether it’s a father courageously battling ALS or a brave child living with Duchene Muscular Dystrophy, they deserve the right to try.”

Bellina has been an active voice in support of Right to Try laws, traveling to Washington, D.C., frequently to testify before senate and house committees. A retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, Bellina, 34, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in 2014. The father of three is slowly losing basic motor functions as the disease progressively attacks his central nervous system.

Passage of a Right to Try bill would cut some of the red tape that slows down patients’ access to experimental drugs. Those drugs are available now through use of the FDA’s “compassionate use” process, a process Bellina used to file requests to 20 different pharmaceutical companies before finding one that agreed to help him, according to a report from August 2017. The legislation would allow doctors to request the drugs directly from companies that would have a stronger liability shield and incentive to grant the applications.

“This bill is needed to protect the pharmaceutical industry from litigation and allow them to respect the individual state laws,” Bellina said in October while testifying before the Committee on Energy and Commerce’s Subcommittee on Health. “I have no illusion that this will solve the entire problem but it is absolutely a step in the right direction and a step we need to take now. I know that it is probably too late for me, and I have made my peace with that. I need to know before I die that if my children find themselves in this unenviable position, that this nation that I proudly served will respect their liberties and their right to make their own decisions about their medical treatments.”

Gov. Tom Wolf signed a state Right to Try bill in October, joining 37 other states in passing similar legislation. Without a federal level bill, however, the laws cannot be followed through by patients. A unanimous vote passed S. 204 through the U.S. Senate in August, and two companion bills are currently sitting in the U.S. House of Representatives. Rep. Andy Biggs, R-5, in Arizona, introduced HR 878 in February 2017, and Fitzpatrick introduced his own version in May.

Trump intends to use his first State of the Union address on Tuesday night to cite economic progress under his watch while pushing for bipartisanship with Democrats on issues such as rebuilding roads and bridges, according to the Associated Press.