It looks like a record. It feels like a record. Now all we need is a banner final week, and it will be a record.

That's the situation in a nutshell as we come to the 7/8 mark of our annual fund-raising campaign on behalf of Children's Hospital.

Throughout the 1987-'88 campaign, we have been well ahead of last year's pace -- and last year's pace brought us a record final total of $429,012.98. As you can see below, we are within striking distance of that figure. If I sound as if I'm hoping to huff and puff and blow down last year's record, well, true confessions: I am.

Here are the Week Seven totals, hot off the adding machine:

Grand Total to Date: $397,576.00

Total Given This Week: $46,286.95.

Individual Donors to Date: 3,405.

Group Donors to Date: 802.

That grand total is $42,000 higher than the grand total was after seven weeks a year ago. But $74,000 poured into my mailbox in Week Eight last year, the largest Week Eight gusher in the history of the campaign. Can we bring in another $74,000 in Week Eight this year? I sincerely hope so -- but hoping doesn't always do the job.

What does do the job is readers just like you.

Your response to the campaign this year (and every year) has been absolutely marvelous. But there are lurkers out there, I know -- potential donors who have been meaning to contribute, but who are still digging out from under Christmas bills, or who have simply forgotten.

Please make the effort, folks, and make it today. And don't be bashful if your gift is on the skimpy side. Anything you send will make a difference. Remember that all the money I raise goes to the free care fund at the hospital. That fund pays the bills for sick kids whose families can't afford to. All gifts are tax-deductible.

If you're a parent whose kids have always been healthy, this is a fine way to say thanks.

If you're part of a group that's looking for a way to make a difference in the community, you've just found that way.

If you're a member of a club or a choir or a cotillion or a council, and you have a few spare bucks, please aim them my way.

You know what they say about ending with whimpers or bangs. You know which side I prefer. Please help us go over the top in the 1987-'88 Children's Hospital campaign.

As I've said for many years, this is the one check that feels good to write. You readers have been sending Children's checks our way for 39 years. I'm confident that you won't stop now.


Make a check or money order payable to Children's Hospital and mail it to Bob Levey, The Washington Post, Washington, D.C., 20071.