Flying high to ground MS Inspirational speaker challenges Flight 177

By Doug Hocking


Every once in a long while you meet someone who overcomes challenges that would crush us. Lizzy McFly (in real life Elizabeth Murphy) is truly inspirational.

Murphy recently spoke to COPA Flight 177 (Exeter) about her incredibly active life before and after a Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis. She says it has been both the best and the worst thing.

It explained her chronic fatigue that plagued both her military career (which she loved — a crack shot in spite of gender bias rearing its ugly head) and detoured her away from her life’s dream of becoming a police officer.

Game for any challenge, Murphy completed a funeral director’s course but knew she would not have the strength or stamina to pursue this livelihood. “Don’t email pictures of yourself in a casket to mom,” she joked.

In 2005 her symptoms (including double-vision, bone-crushing headaches, vertigo) required a spinal tap and an MRI which confirmed the diagnosis. Relieved that the symptoms were not just laziness, she decided not to dwell on the negative.

“I try not to think of the future, but keep grounded in the present,” she said. “I’m not going to give this disease that power.” Murphy has since discovered not only flying – but aerobatic flying in her own airplane. She says the first time she felt nauseous, which she described as what goes wrong when you’re upside down too long, but she was so attracted to aerobatics she had to learn to fly the planes herself.

You can follow her daily adventures and battles with MS at The next COPA Flight 177 event was the annual corn roast which was held at Sexsmith Airport on Sunday, August 26.

COPA Flight 177 is the Exeter Chapter of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association. See details of the chapter’s activities at