Government Neighbors

Veteran With ALS Congressman’s Invited Guest For State Of The Union


President Trump speaking to a joint session of congress last year.
Credit: White House

A Bucks County veteran who has ALS will be Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick’s guest at Tuesday night’s State of the Union address.

Fitzpatrick’s office said Matt Bellina, a Navy veteran and father from Northampton, will be in attendance as President Donald Trump gives addresses congress and the nation.

Bellina has been an advocate for the “Right To Try Act,” which was introduced in congress by Fitzpatrick. The proposed law would let terminally ill patients, physicians and pharmaceutical manufacturers administer investigational treatments where no alternative exists.

Pennsylvania and several other states have already put their own Right To Try laws on the books.

“Each day, families across the country receive the devastating news of a terminal diagnosis. 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,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “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.”

Vice President Mike Pence meeting with Matt Bellina.
Credit: My Right To Try Now

Bellina has worked with Newtown Athletic Center owner Jim Worthington to get the legislation considered by politicians. Last year, Bellina and Worthington worked to make Trump and Vice President Mike Pence aware of the legislation.

The federal legislation passed the Senate last August and has to come before the House of Representatives.


About the author

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield

Tom Sofield has covered news in Bucks County for five years for both newspaper and online publications. In 2012, Tom was honored at the Pennsylvania Newspaper Association Foundation's Keystone Press Awards for his coverage of President Obama's visit to Falls Township in 2011. When he's not covering news in the area, Tom enjoys checking out the newest restaurants and bars, exploring forgotten places of industry in the area, going to local parks and spending time with his friends and family. If there's one thing you should know about Tom, he is a local news junkie through and through. Email: tom@newtownpanow.com Phone: 215-431-1001